Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Unity on an important question

Today's meeting of UNISON's National Executive Council (NEC) agreed an amendment to rule which will, if agreed by Conference, mark the satisfactory conclusion of a tortuous process of making it more straightforward to take action against members of far right organisations within our ranks.

There is a wide understanding within our union - and the wider movement - that, whilst the headline hatred of the far right may shift over decades (from Jewish people, to black people, to muslims) their politics are founded most of all on vitriolic hatred of organised labour. We don't want fascists in our ranks and - thanks to ASLEF - we understand how to give effect to this aspect of our freedom of association within the law.

It is important that, in excluding neo-Nazis and their helpmates from our union, we act lawfully as otherwise we will end up paying compensation to odious people with which they will subsidise the politics of hate.

It has therefore been disappointing that, as a result of unrelated avoidable internal strife (about which more later), our NEC had so lost the trust of sufficient Conference delegates that, when Rule Amendments were put before Conference in 2009 and 2011, they failed to command sufficient support - because many delegates understandably feared that the widely drafted Rule Amendment might as easily facilitate action against members of small socialist political parties as against the far right.

Thanks to the Chair of our Development and Organisation Committee who - in January - insisted that amendments to the proposed Rule Amendment suggested by Committee members should be accepted subject to legal advice, today's NEC was able to agree a tightly worded amendment to Rule I which deserves to command the assent of our Conference.

This will make it easier for UNISON to expel the far right, without causing concern to the left. I would be more than happy to speak to any UNISON branch who may still have reservations about this necessary and important Rule Amendment.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Lets hope some of those they put up to speak last year are asked not to bother this year!

Maybe the newly elected member of the NEC who told me at 2011 they don't have any good speakers on the NEC. Will remember me saying yes they do why did they not ask Jon Rogers to move the rule amendment?