Wednesday, 30 January 2008

UNITE industrial structures - discussion paper

Though as a member of the Amicus section NEC I have been officially been told nothing about this yet, I have managed to get hold of a copy of the discussion document presented to the UNITE Joint Executive Council (JEC) on 10th January.

The document outlines a possible industrial sector structure for the new rulebook.

In terms of the impact on EEE&IT, it confirms what I had heard. The proposal would mean a distinct "Electrical Engineering & Electronics" sector - possibly a good thing - and the creation of a new "IT & Communications" sector.

The latter is a major concern to reps in the IT industry that I've spoken to so far. While the name and the principle are fine, we understand that the main component of the "Communication" bit would actually be the "Communication Managers Association" (CMA) which has about 11,000 members who are mostly Royal Mail managers. It is hard to see an industrial logic to grouping Royal Mail managers with IT, telecomms or broadcasting workers. It is easy to imagine the problems that could arise from a sector with such a disproportionate management component.

The document is clearly identified as "for discussion and consultation", and I'm sure ours won't be the only sector where members have views about the pros and cons of the proposed structure.

I'd be very interested to know your views, and I'd also encourage members to make their views known through their officers and the union structures. Putting a draft proposal out for discussion is a very welcome development and members shouldn't let this opportunity to shape our union pass.

I am disappointed, however, that this key document doesn't appear to be on the union web site and hasn't even been circulated to Amicus section NEC members in advance of our meeting next week. With Regional Sector Conferences taking place at the moment, what better opportunity could there have been for consultation?



4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting post Ian - when's this discussion document going to get discussed? How about an airing in 'the activist' or on the official website?!

Another rumour about the future of the sector is that we could have even more of a management emphasis with the incorporation of SIMA (Steel Industry Managers Association). There are some IT workers in SIMA, but like in the CMA they are heavily outnumbered by middle managers from the steel industry.

The FPA is dead! Long live the FPA!

Bill said...

The proposed merger would solve a current problem with regard to large numbers of ex-Royal Mail staff who did (and still do) IT jobs and who were TUPEd to private companies a few years ago. We have had a dilemma ever since as to whether it would be better for us to remain in CMA or transfer to EEEIT. If IT and CMA merge, the problem disappears.
I see no real problem. Despite the 'M' of 'CMA' standing for 'Managers', in practice most of the 'Managers' in that sector are on comparable grades to most IT technical staff, i.e. they have a similar status.

Anonymous said...

I see that there is a proposed 'Road, Transport Commercial, Logistics and Retail Distribution' sector and you could argue that Royal Mail is mainly a logistics organisation and so should logically belong to that sector, whereas communications in the sense of telecommunications staff would clearly sit naturally with IT.

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about suggesting a separate sector for managers? It might encourage more to join if there was something geared more specifically to their needs.