Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Amendments to motions for UNITE Policy Conference 2014

The invitation to submit amendments will be sent out on 7th April along with the preliminary agenda.  The deadline for receipt of amendments will be 23rd May 2014.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

General Secretary's briefing from March 2014 UNITE Executive Council meeting

The General Secretary's briefing from the recent EC is out.  As usual, I will send a copy to UNITE members on request.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

UNITE Executive elections open 26th March

UNITE's Executive Council (EC) is responsible for the "government, management and control" of the union, which includes everything from taking policy decisions between conferences, setting subs rates, appointing officers to interpreting the union rulebook.

Thought EC can seem pretty remote to most members, its composition matters.  Alongside the election of the General Secretary, EC elections shape the direction and effectiveness of our union.

The whole EC is up for election now.  Nominations have now closed.  Voting will take place from 26 March to 23 April.  The new EC will take office from 1 May 2014 for a three year term.  Given the importance of the election, all of us should encourage members to read the election materials and take part in the ballot.

Already the Returning Officer has reported that 22 candidates have been elected unopposed:
  1. Sean McGovern, Disabled Members
  2. Phil Entwistle, Aerospace & Shipbuilding
  3. Tam Mitchell, Aerospace & Shipbuilding
  4. Sharon Owens, Civil Air Transport
  5. Nigel Stott, Civil Air Transport
  6. Jas Gill, Civil Air Transport
  7. Mark Lyon, Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Process and Textiles
  8. John Storey, Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Process and Textiles
  9. Dave Williams, Road Transport Commercial, Logistics and Retail Distribution
  10. Garry Hillier, Road Transport Commercial, Logistics and Retail Distribution
  11. Ivan Monckton, Rural and Agriculture
  12. Barry Knowles, North West
  13. Francesca Sullivan, North West
  14. Tony Woodhouse, North West
  15. Steve Hibbert, East Midlands
  16. June Shepherd, East Midlands
  17. Jayne Taylor, South West
  18. Mark Thomas, South West
  19. Lizanne Malone, London & Eastern
  20. Kate Osborne, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside
  21. Dawn McAllister, Scotland
  22. Wendy Gilligan, Wales
The following seats remain up for election:
  • Ireland: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • London & Eastern: 3 seats (including at least 1 BAEM)
  • North East, Yorkshire & Humberside: 1 seat
  • South East: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • Scotland: 1 seat
  • Wales: 1 seat
  • West Midlands: 3 seats (including at least 1 woman and at least 1 BAEM)
  • National seat for women
  • National seat for BAEM
  • National seat for LGBT
  • Automotive Industries: 2 seats
  • Community, Youth and Not For Profit: 1 seat
  • Construction: 1 seat
  • Docks & Rail: 1 seat
  • Education: 1 seat
  • Energy & Utilities: 1 seat
  • Finance & Legal: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • Food, Drink & Tobacco (3 seats, including at least 1 woman and at least 1 BAEM)
  • General Engineering, Manufacturing & Services (GEMS): 2 seats
  • Graphical, Print, Media & Information Technology: 2 seats
  • Health: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • Metals (including Foundry): 1 seat
  • MoD & Government Departments: 1 seat
  • Passenger Services: 2 seats (including at least 1 BAEM)
Members in the GPM&IT sector will get to vote for our 2 sectoral seats, BAEM and LGBT seats, the women's seat (if you are female) and (if you are in a region with a contested election) one or more regional seats.

I'd like to thank members in my sector for giving me the priviledge of representing them on the EC since I was elected back in 2003.  It's been useful and I'd like to think I've made a difference, but I haven't stood again as I think three terms has been long enough.  To paraphrase Tony Benn, I'd like to spend more time on trade unionism.

There are four candidates standing for the two GPM&IT seats:
  • Ged Dempsey (32 branch nominations)
  • Tommy Murphy (30 branch nominations)
  • Raffiq Moosa (20 branch nominations)
  • Dave Lovelidge (10 branch nominations)
I don't know all of them well, as the GPM&IT sector is new, but I have served alongside both Ged and Dave on previous executives.

I'm encouraging members in GPM&IT to support Ged Dempsey.  When we were both on the executive together some years ago, he was one of the few other people prepared to stand up to Derek Simpson.  There's no point electing people who aren't going to read the paperwork, aren't going to think for themselves, aren't going to fight their corner, or aren't going to report back properly and make themselves accountable.  In my experience Ged passed all these tests.  He's a hard working and committed workplace activist.  He's genuinely on the left, interested in making things better for members, not just a position for himself.  If Ged is prepared to stand for another spell on the EC, he deserves our support.

There's a leaflet for Ged here.  In campaigning, it's important you stick strictly to the election rules (see section 2.17).  Don't send unsolicited mail, email or text messages to members at home.  You can distribute leaflets in or at workplaces, put up posters etc, as long as you don't use the union logo or identity inappropriately.  Branches who made nominations can write to their members to tell them who they nominated.

The rules do now allow branches to make donations to individual candidates to support their election campaigns.  Personally I am opposed to this - I don't think it's what members pay their subs for.  I've found donations from individuals and collections at meetings are adequate to fund campaigns, and this method of fundraising has the advantage of forcing candidates to talk to members, rather than relying on the "union machine".  But this was one of many votes I lost on the EC!

Official details of the EC election are on the UNITE web site here.  This includes details of all branches and workplaces that made nominations.

Ged Dempsey and Tommy Murphy are both backed by the United Left grouping in the union.  Raffiq Moosa and Dave Lovelidge are both backed by the UniteNow grouping.

Friday, 7 March 2014

UNITE halves affiliation to Labour

I haven't yet had time to write my report from this week's UNITE Executive Council meeting, but have helped write this report on the major news item to come out of it - the EC's decision to cut our affiliation to the Labour Party by around half to 500,000 members.