Sunday, April 03, 2011

Out of order?

In the midst of the busiest time in a generation for lay trade union activists, we can't afford to lose sight of the routines of the movement.

Right now the preliminary agenda for UNISON National Delegate Conference in June (in Manchester owing to an unfortunate antipathy to meeting on the south coast) is out - and it reveals what has been admitted to the agenda and what has been ruled out of order.

Bizarrely, an attempt by my local branch to encourage debate about whether we should advocate that local authorities should set "needs budgets" has been ruled out of order on the basis that it could (somehow) place the Union in legal jeopardy.

I am obviously cautious about suggesting any criticism of the Standing Orders Committee, bearing in mind how much time and effort has been spent dealing with such matters in the past.

However, you do have to wonder on which planet it would be possible that someone could take legal action against the Union because we contemplated suggesting that local authorities should abide by the policy already endorsed by UNISON's Scottish Council.

If my judgement is wrong, and there is a real threat of litigation against UNISON because our Scottish Council backed "needs budgets" then I invite all readers to join my campaign to raise money for the legal defence of UNISON Scotland. English as well as Scottish pounds are acceptable...

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