Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Who decides in a lay led trade union? And when?

Please note that this post has been updated since first being posted.

One of the penalties I pay for the honour of serving on UNISON's National Executive Council (NEC) is that I must pore over minutes of Committees to be reported to the NEC (which meets tomorrow).

It is in this context that I find that our Policy Committee decided, on 19 April, to restrict the size and composition of UNISON's TUC delegation in 2012.

Or did they?

Because, on 8 February, fully two months before our lay Policy Committee took "their" decision to restrict the size of our TUC delegation, it had been "reported" to our Equality Liaison Committee that, whilst larger than it had been at 2011's mini-TUC, UNISON's delegation to TUC 2012 "will still not be as large as it used to be."

Surely it cannot be that paid officials take decisions and then engineer their rubber-stamping by lay Committees?

But how otherwise could a decision not taken by the Policy Committee until 19 April have been reported as fact to the Equality Liaison Committee on 8 February?

Perhaps (since I enjoyed seeing Men in Black 3 today) I should accept that the UNISON Centre has perfected time travel?

That, being the explanation that involves neither breaches of our Rules nor criticism of officials (which may offend sensitive souls), must be true.

So, if we've got time travel cracked, can someone go back to June 2010 and start fighting the change to uprating our pensions as soon as it was announced?

Update:

 I have been assured that the information given ot the Equality Liaison Committee in February reflected the established policy of various lay Committees, notably our Finance and Resource Management Committee.

The overwhelming reason for reducing the size of the TUC delegation is, I am advised, to save money (and there are certainly legitimate savings to be made).

It is the case that a significant number of lay NEC members support reducing the size of the TUC delegation. The controversial question (with which I will deal in my NEC report, which I have lazily failed to do whilst on leave) is how the reduced number of places for NEC members are allocated as between NEC Committees.

Speaking personally I think it is a shame that our approach to the TUC is motivated primarily by cost, as I would prefer that our movement had been able to find a way to make its annual "Parliament" a more meaningful and useful body, worth the expense.
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