Motion 1 – an organising response to the Trade Union bill – policy was to defer, the rationale being that there was concern that the motion called for an immediate switch from DOCAS (Deduction of Contributions at source or 'check off') to Direct Debit in response to the Tories Trade Union bill. The bill was still going through the Commons and Lords and by deferring we gave ourselves time so we would have a better idea of where the legislation was going. Whilst this position was understandable a couple of us felt to be fair to the motion it was actually saying the union should have the necessary resources and materials to enable the switch rather than an immediate switch. Other unions were already doing this. We could review our position right up to the date of the national conference.
The following motions were all supported: 2. Organising for growth in the Community and Voluntary sector 3. Increasing young women’s attendance at National Delegate Conference 4. Supporting our activists who have to deal with stressful situations 5. Bullying and young members 6. Strengthening our union, supporting and developing our members (NEC motion) 7. Supporting stewards during times of austerity 8. Trade Union and FE studies.
9. Supporting shared branch resource centres – the position was to support and amend. The branch funding element was referred to the Finance committee.10. Code of Good branch practice – seek withdrawal (the motion asked to update the Code of Good branch practice every 2 years and to encourage its access electronically – the Code of Good branch practice is already updated every 2 years and is available on the UNISON website). 11. Electronic use of the national rule book – this was felt to be a useful motion the recommendation however was to have a wider discussion about usage and availability - remit. 12. My union, your union, our union encouraging engagement – support.
13. and 14. Branch self-organised groups – support and amend. 15. Representation of members in FE - TBC. 16 Trade Union facilities (NEC motion) and 126. Recognising continued membership of the union (long service badges for members from 10 to 50 years) – support.We then considered proposed D&O amendments to motions on 9 – supporting shared branch resource centres, 13 and 14 Branch self-organised groups and 15 . Representation of members in FE.
Proposed policy of D&O on rule amendments – There was a raft of motions again calling for a move from annual to biennial – national delegate conference, service group conferences, election of branch officers and stewards. We opposed this last time after consulting Regional Convenors, Self organised groups etc. the feeling was that opinion had not changed since then. We did not want to weaken the democratic accountability of the union. So rule amendments 1,5,6,11 and 12 were all opposed.2,3,7,8 10 and 14 were all supported and concerned the establishment of a private contractor’s forum and the right to speak at and attend national conferences.
4 - from national disabled members committee - defer as wider consultation was to take place before national delegate conference.9 – A rule change to enable Service Group executive representatives who are also branch delegates to be elected as Chair or Vice Chairperson of the group’s Regional Committee – defer so advice cold be sought on how the various Regions deal with this. One committee member said the situation was ‘a dog’s breakfast’ currently.
13 – Rule J the political fund - to comply with the law the position was to support but this could be changed if the Lords amends on the Trade Union bill get through the Commons.15 – Schedule A rates of subscription for retired members - referred to the Finance committee.
16 Schedule C elections – support – this change would allow the union to consider alternative voting methods for Service Group Executive elections e.g electronic voting, .NEC rule amendments for the priorities ballot - these were rule amendments 2,3,7,8,13 and 16.