Wednesday, November 19, 2014
And now for something completely different...
To give readers a rest from my incessant blog posts about local government pay (each and every one of which, I should point out to readers in the Euston area, alleges a breach of Rule B.1.4) I shall share a strange happening from this morning's meeting of the Development and Organisation (D&O) Committee of the UNISON National Executive Council (NEC).
Whilst the Committee was reviewing budgets for the coming year a question arose as to whether there was adequate provision to meet the costs of an election for the position of General Secretary in 2015, as required by law (and Rules E.3.2 and E.3.3).
It turned out that this was not a question which should have been asked, at least not of that Committee and that it could not therefore be answered.
I'll pursue the question elsewhere, since it is a legitimate question which might be asked not only by any NEC member but by any UNISON member. I do think that significant and foreseeable expenditure is the sort of thing that should routinely be included in a budget and am surprised to learn that, in respect of the not inconsiderable cost of an election of this nature, this has not yet been done.
Perhaps no one has wanted to be the one to point out that there has to be a General Secretary election?
Or perhaps there is a view that, given our great success in taking on the pay freeze and winning an improvement in living standards for our members, the likelihood of a contested election is so small that there is no need to make provision for it in our budget?
A General Secretary election is not a matter of concern primarily to any intending candidates but to the Union as a whole. We cannot avoid discussing it for fear of causing offence.
It could - and should - be an opportunity to engage our million plus members in a discussion about where our Union is and should be going, and what it is that we, as workers need from UNISON now and in the future.
For as long as no one at the UNISON Centre will discuss openly the unavoidable necessity for such an election, I regret it becomes increasingly unlikely that we shall realise such opportunities.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.