Tuesday, March 24, 2015

After today - Prioritise Motion 106 to National Delegate Conference

The decisions of today's Special Local Government Conference create a lot of further work. Our Service Group Executive (SGE) and our National Joint Council (NJC) Committee (which is accountable to our Service Group Conference) will both have to act on the decisions we have taken - and so shall we in our branches.

However, the factors that brought us into the hideous glass monstrosity of the QEII Conference Centre were many and varied and there is more for us to do if we are to make our Union fit for the future than simply what we decided today.

The catastrophic failure of the 2014 pay campaign was a manifestation of the inadequacy of our national leadership of our national pay negotiations. Today was an assertion, by lay activists from branches, of our authority and our dissatisfaction at this failure.

This failure arose against the background of the massive decentralisation which has taken place in our Union this century. Our branches have to negotiate more, administer more and deal with far more employers than we did before.

We need to respond to this by providing adequate resourcing to our branches. We know this. Our National Delegate Conference has tiptoed around this question for the past couple of years.

Of course this is controversial. To increase the proportion of our resources which goes to branches feels like a threat to the financial interests of those whose livelihoods depend upon the financial stability of the organisation.

Therefore our officials highlight (not wrongly) the reserves held by some of our branches. ‎The NEC Finance Committee last year tried to come up with a formula to assist branches with the demands we face without reducing resources to the Centre.

For a variety of reasons a majority could not be found on the floor of Conference. Branches having reserves are understandably reluctant to see their funding reduced because of what they may feel has been their past prudence. Others - particularly north of Hadrian's wall - were unwilling to acquiesce in the pragmatic willingness of the NEC to composite with those who seek a shift of resources to branches.

The upshot of last year's stalemate has been the failure of the NEC to put any proposal on branch funding before this year's National Delegate Conference. 

Happily for those who care about our future, the Lambeth branch does have a motion admitted ‎to the Conference agenda which addresses the need to devolve resources to branch level, giving the NEC a clear steer to bring back detailed proposals to achieve this aim.

That motion is Motion 106 and - if it is to be discussed at June's Conference it will need support in the pre-Conference prioritisation process.

Today we began to see what can be achieved when those who put the interests of our lay members first work together. We need to use the ability which we have found that we have to reshape UNISON to face the challenges of the present and the future.

Prioritising Motion 106 may not be "the" next step - but I suggest that it is one of them.

Every branch should be consulted by their Region as part of the prioritisation process. This is a process which has often in the past served the interests of those who ride the Howdah of the Great White Elephant of the Euston Road.

We can turn the prioritisation process to serve the interests of our members - and therefore we should prioritise Motion 106.

(Regular readers of this blog - Sid and Doris Blogger - will be reassured to know that I'll blog other recommendations for prioritisation soon.)

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.

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