Thursday, June 13, 2013

UNISON NEC elections revisited

A comrade in the branch asked me earlier if there was any analysis of the outcome of the UNISON NEC elections. I could have said, "I refer my honourable friend to the answer I gave some moments ago" ( but that would have been silly.

I could have referred to the comment of a senior official who, when I said the elections demonstrated little change, observed "that's how we like it", but that would also have been silly.

So I went back and looked at the detailed results.

And they do lead to a few clear conclusions.

First, the turnout remains depressingly low. This has remained more or less consistent throughout my decade on the NEC. This occasionally provokes a bit of soul-searching, but - objectively - UNISON election turnouts are not exceptional in the movement and - subjectively - the combined forces of national officials and incumbent NEC members tend to find other priorities than transforming how we elect our NEC.

Secondly, the benefit of incumbency in trade union elections, which is a fairly well-established historically, was demonstrated fairly clearly in these elections.

In only four cases were incumbents seeking re-election defeated (and in one of these cases the incumbent had already resigned and did not campaign, while in another the Region had lost representation compared to the last election).

Finally, as to the political balance on the NEC, that is pretty much unchanged in general, as left-wingers retiring or defeated have been replaced by newcomers, albeit in different constituencies.

If we're going to see the changed approach to leadership which our trade union needs then we're going to have to achieve this through dialogue and persuasion of NEC colleages.

So optimism of the will could come in handy...

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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