Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Defend UNISON Democracy

‎Below is the text of a statement being circulated by a number of members of UNISON's National Executive Council (NEC) in order to encourage branches to respond to an urgent process of consultation agreed last week by the NEC.

Defend UNISON democracy.


We, the undersigned NEC ‎members, oppose a series of Rule Amendments which have been proposed for discussion at our Conference in June as we believe they would undermine UNISON democracy.


The Rule Amendments in question are numbers 4, 7, 8, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27 and 28. All of these rule amendments seek to reduce the frequency of aspects of our trade union democracy (at national, regional and branch level) from annually to biennially (every two years).


We recognise that branches need support to enable the attendance of delegates at Conferences. We believe that it is important that there is no reduction in the frequency with which UNISON members can hold to account those elected to represent our interest.


The majority of our NEC colleagues have agreed to defer taking a policy position on these motions to allow for (very swift) consultation with Regions and Service Groups. 


We believe that this year's UNISON Conference should focus on mobilising our members to fight the Government and employers on pay, jobs and conditions - and not on a destructive internal argument provoked by an attack on our union democracy.


So that our NEC colleagues can be persuaded to take the positive step of opposing these reactionary, right-wing rule amendments (to enable our Conference to focus positively on the interests of our members and the organisation of our Union) we call upon all branches of UNISON to agree motions along the following lines for submission to their Region and Service Group (copied to appropriate NEC members);


"UNISON Democracy


This branch opposes any suggestion that any aspect of our trade union democracy should be moved to a less frequent cycle. This should be addressed by the branch funding review.


We believe that the democratic accountability of UNISON representatives at every level is essential to the effectiveness of our elected representatives, and that any reduction of the frequency with which such accountability takes place would weaken our trade union.


We also believe that in 2014 our priority should be to mobilise and coordinate our members to fight for their interests, and that our Conference should be dominated by this issue and not internal issues.


We therefore call upon the NEC to oppose any suggestion that there should be any reduction in frequency (from annually to biennially) of Conferences or of Regional or branch level elections."


April Ashley, Dave Auger, Tomasa Bullen, Helen Davies, Suzy Franklin, Bernie Gallagher, Paul Holmes, Helen Jenner, Diana Leach, Vicky Perrin, Jon Rogers, Tony Wilson


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