Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Personal report of the UNISON National Executive Council 29th July 2015

It was requested that in future meetings take place on the ground floor of the UNISON building to make the NEC fully accessible. This would be looked at.

Obituaries were read out and condolences given including UNISON members affected by the tragedy in Tunisia.

NEC members were asked to complete a National Delegate Conference review proforma.

Dave Prentis in his General Secretary's report welcomed newly elected NEC members. Dave also on behalf of the union pledged full support to Max Watson in his attempt to keep his job. The union believed there was a major element of discrimination by the employer at London Metropolitan University. Resources would be given to defend Max and the branch.

There was good news in that the Glasgow homelessness caseworkers had won their dispute for parity of grading. The NEC sent congratulations to the Region and the branch. This showed what we can do when we have the strength of the members. The General Secretary made reference to Barnet's ongoing campaign against outsourcing and that John Burgess, Barnet branch secretary was a great union activist. John's car had recently been vandalised with offensive and anti union graffiti.

Probation service - there would be a 2 hour strike to keep the legality of the ballot. The employers were refusing to talk even through ACAS. There was an exercise in probation to get members signed up to Direct debit.

A major issue was the Trade Union bill. A very good TUC briefing was circulated to NEC members that could be used in speeches etc. The main areas of attack were the use of agency workers, picket rules/limits, turnout percentage in ballots, facility time and political funds. We would campaign with NGO's like Liberty and Amnesty international against the bill. The Trade Union bill was also an attack on democracy in this country.

We needed a very big presence on the demo at the Tory party conference on 4th October 2015 and on 2nd November 2015 there was a parliamentary lobby over the Trade Union bill. NEC members asked for this to be turned into a demo as well but approval may be difficult to acheive. Dave Prentis in response to a question about the position of Labour on the welfare bill to abstain (only 48 Labour MPs voted against) said there was a job to get some backbone into some Labour MPs. It was remarked by an NEC member that there had been 'uproar' in the discussion on the Labour Party NEC on the decision of the acting leader to say MPs should abstain on the welfare bill. The 48 who voted against should have been joined by many, many more.

It was agreed that the Industrial Action report the NEC sees should go to every service group as well.

General secretary election - Any potential candidates were asked to leave the room while the rest of the NEC discussed the election timetable and procedures. Dave Prentis, Roger Bannister (NEC member North West), Heather Wakefield (Head of Local Government) and Karen Reissmann (NEC NW) left the room. Karen has subsequently withdrawn. Several NEC members commented that the nomination period was short for the election. The procedures and timetable were agreed as presented however.

Allocation of NEC members to various NEC sub committees was agreed and also to the General Political fund and Affiliated political fund (APF) committees. The APF (Labour link) committee met and agreed to nominate Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader with Yvette Cooper as second preference. Angela Eagle was nominated for Deputy leader. An NEC member asked for earlier circulation of NEC minutes. The President noted this and confirmed that the minutes would be issued as soon as possible.