Saturday, October 01, 2016
Succession planning in the labour movement
Having told the Lambeth UNISON Branch Committee five months ago that I will not seek to continue to be Branch Secretary beyond next January I am very mindful of the difficulty of succession planning.
Bearing in mind of course that I make no criticism of UNISON’s General Secretary, I cannot help but observe that succession planning is clearly as tricky nationally as it is locally.
When I was young(er) we used to have Deputy General Secretaries in some of our trade unions. I recollect trying to propose that the position of Deputy General Secretary (DGS) in UNISON should be elected (rather than appointed).
This proposition (which had been debated at UNISON Conference in 1995) was subsequently ruled out of order for debate at Conference by the Standing Orders Committee (SOC).
Initially this was because the proposal could have breached the contract of an incumbent DGS.
When the proposal was put on the basis that it would only apply once there was a vacancy it was held to breach the contracts of staff who might aspire to appointment to that post.
And then, once the post was vacant the National Executive Council (NEC) proposed its deletion.
Which required a rule amendment.
Which was not ruled out of order.
(I don’t know).
But anyway – for UNISON – it didn’t matter because we had five Assistant General Secretaries and it was going to be easy for UNISON to plan the succession for General Secretary.