Tuesday, April 12, 2011

D&O Committee report

Today's meeting of the Development and Organisation Committee (D&O) of the UNISON National Executive Council (NEC) dealt briefly with Conference business with little controversy.

The Committee is recommending that the NEC oppose rule amendments which would require candidates for the NEC or for a Service Group Executive (SGE) to be nominated by their own branch and at least one other rather than, as at present, a minimum of two branches.

Whilst I can see arguments in favour of the proposal - that those we elect to national positions should have strong local roots, I oppose this on balance for practical reasons (what if the nomination form from the candidate's own branch were ruled out on a technicality?) as well as from a sense that, in the interests of democracy, it should be as easy as is reasonable to secure a place on a ballot paper.

The Committee also opposed Bolton's attempt to place a two year time limit on certain internal disciplinary sanctions, rather than the five year limit which the NEC itself is recommending. Although I personally support Bolton on this, the Committee having recently had the debate, I did not argue today.

The D&O is however recommending that the NEC support a rule amendment from Birmingham which would give disciplinary panels of the NEC the power, which they currently lack, to "censure" a member. This equivalent to a disciplinary warning is a welcome proposed addition to our Rule Book.

I can think of several cases where the availability of a moderate but non-negligible sanction could potentially have avoided a lot of grief and wasted effort.

Assuming the NEC agrees these recommendations it will then be for Conference to decide.

At the end of the meeting I asked about arrangements to lift the Regional supervision of our Newham branch. I was assured that all that was needed for this to happen was a final report from the Region to Head Office.

Let's hope that report is already written and arrives tomorrow.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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