Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Personal report of Development and Organisation (D&O) subcommittee of the UNISON NEC - 13th May 2015

We received a presentation on the Young members survey which explored issues faced by Young members. Recruitment was more successful when young members first start work so therefore we should optimise the use of induction sessions and starter lists.
There was a risk review following the disastrous result of the 2015 General election. The Tory manifesto had commitments to attack workers rights to organise. There was a prescription in consequence to move from DOCAS (Deduction of Contributions at Source) or ‘Check off’  - to all UNISON members paying by DD (Direct Debit).  

Learning and organising activity – There was a report on the number of new stewards trained, the number of Health and Safety reps trained and the number of Union Learning reps trained in 2014 compared to 2013. It was asked by Max Watson and John Jones could a supplement to the report be produced that showed a breakdown of steward density by Service Group.
Trade Union funding – there was no Labour Government coming on a white charger. By August 2016 there could be no Government funding at all for Trade Union education.

An emergency motion from D&O was agreed for recommendation and to be considered alongside any wider statement from the NEC after the election result. There needed to be an organising response to the unanticipated outcome of the General election with a majority Tory government.
The Tory manifesto had included a commitment to ‘ensure Trade Unions use a transparent opt in process for union subscriptions’ and there was a commitment to ‘tighten the rules around taxpayer funded facility time for Trade Union reps’.

This was clearly intended to weaken the ability of workers to oppose further cuts and privatisation.
There should be a campaign against such legislation but we should also prepare an organising response – there should be mechanisms in place to facilitate transfer of members from DOCAS to DD. ‘UNISON needed a whole union strategy to support such a transfer’. The NEC was called upon to ‘ensure all members paying by DOCAS are retained in membership through transfer to Direct Debit.’   

It was clear we needed to recruit members and activists more than ever in the workplace. There was an opportunity to re-engage with existing members and ones we had not recruited yet. We should not wait and hope the Tories would be nice to us.
Continued development of the RMS - Guidance would be issued to branches on how to convert DOCAS paying members to Direct Debit. DOCAS had already been withdrawn in the Probation service where UNISON organises and lessons would be learnt from that.