Saturday, December 28, 2013
Did not shoot the Deputy...
Those for whom the UNISON Rule Book has a status somewhere between a favourite book and erotic literature will know that UNISON is required to have a Deputy General Secretary.
This is a Rule Book requirement with which we have now been failing to comply for some eighteen months.
As an inquisitive soul, I have been asking about this and, along with the Xmas cards from those of my NEC colleagues inclined to send me such, I was pleased to receive, just before Xmas, a letter explaining what is going on.
It appears that a decision has been taken to defer recruitment to a Deputy General Secretary while we get used to having enough Assistant General Secretaries to field a five-a-side football team.
Those UNISON activists who have, in the past, tried to get a debate about the election (rather than appointment) of our Deputy General Secretary before UNISON National Delegate Conference may wish to take note of this.
In the past, our Standing Orders Committee (SOC) have felt constrained to rule such attempts out of order for fear that they would breach the contracts of employment of the holder of the post.
There is no such person now.
A more imaginative argument to seek to rule out extending the principle of election to more senior officials in UNISON has been that it would breach an implied term of the contracts of other staff that they should be able to apply for such posts as promotion opportunities without the peril of an election.
Since our Union now accepts that it may consider dispensing with the role of Deputy General Secretary (notwithstanding that such a decision would require a Rule Amendment quite as significant as one which proposed election to the post) this inventive argument must too now be discounted.
If someone wanted to propose the election of UNISON's Deputy General Secretary, 2014 would be the year to do it.
As to whether that would be a good idea, a future blog post appears called for...