Glossary & Jargon Buster

The trade union movement uses a lot of jargon, which while it can be useful, can also make it harder for new people to understand what's being said or to get involved.

Over time I would like to build up this page as a glossary and jargon buster.  If you come across a word or phrase in UNITE that you don't understand, please leave a comment below and I will try to add it along with an explanation.

AAC: See Area Activists Committee

AAM: See Area Activists Meeting

AEEU: Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, one of the unions that became Amicus

AEU: Amalgamated Engineering Union, one of the unions that became AEEU

AGS: Assistant General Secretary.  AGSes report to the General Secretary, while National Officers report to AGSes.

Amendment: A proposal to add to, delete from or otherwise modify a remit

Amicus: One of the unions that became UNITE

Area Activists Committee (AAC):  Each region of UNITE is divided into a number of smaller "areas", each of which has an elected committee which meets quarterly.  The AAC sends delegates and can send remits to the Regional Committee.  In addition, each area has an Area Activists Meeting (AAM).

Area Activists Meeting (AAM): The AAM takes place quarterly and is open to all activists in an area, but unlike the AAC is not a formal decision-making body of the union.

BAEM: Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority

CAT: Civil Air Transport sector

Challenge the chair:  Where someone in a meeting believes that the chair has taken a wrong decision, they can "challenge the chair".  It normally requires a 2/3 majority to overturn a decision of the chair.

Chief of Staff: Senior member of staff, reporting to the General Secretary, to whom the Regional Secretaries report.

Composite: It is common practice at union conferences to "composite" or merge two or more motions or amendments on the same subject which do not conflict with each other to produce a single "composite motion", avoiding wasting the time of conference in debating and voting on the same issues several times

EC: See Executive Council

EETPU: Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union.  One of the unions that became AEEU.

Executive Council: The main committee for the union nationally, with members representing each region, sector and equalities strand.

F&GP: see Finance & General Purposes Committee.

Finance & General Purposes Committee (F&GP): a subcommittee of another body such as the EC or RC that deals with financial matters and may take urgent decisions between meetings of the main body.

GEC: an out of date term for the EC, mainly used by ex-TGWU members

GPM&IT: Graphical, Paper, Media & Information Technology sector

GPMU: Graphical, Paper and Media Union.  One of the unions that became Amicus

GS: General Secretary.  Elected full-time head of the union.

Lay-member: any member not employed by the union.

LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender

MSF: Manufacturing, Science & Finance.  One of the unions that became Amicus.

Motion: see remit

National Industrial Sector Committee:  the national committee for each sector, elected from the RISCs.  The NISC can send remits to the Executive Council.

National Officer: full-time officer, typically with national responsibility for one or more industrial sectors

NEC: an out of date term for the EC, mainly used by ex-Amicus members

NISC: See National Industrial Sector Committee

NO: National Officer

Point of Order:  An interruption during a meeting to complain that the meeting is not being conducted in line with the Standing Orders.

RAAW: Rural, Agricultural and Allied Workers sector

RC: see Regional Committee

RCO: Regional Coordinating Officer

Regional Committee: The main committee for each region, with representatives from each sector, area and equalities strand.

Regional Coordinating Officer (RCO): An RCO reports to the Regional Secretary and has a number of Regional Officers reporting to them for the 100% campaign

Regional Industrial Sector Committee (RISC): An committee for each industrial sector in each region, elected at the Regional Industrial Sector Conference.  The RISC can send delegates and remits to the Regional Committee and National Industrial Sector Committee.

Regional Officer (or sometimes Regional Industrial Officer): a full-time officer with responsibility for a number of workplaces and branches within one region.

Regional Secretary: the senior full-time officer responsible for a UNITE region.

Remit: This has two meanings:

  • As a noun, "a remit", resolution or motion is a piece of text agreed by a meeting which expresses a policy or other decision
  • As a verb, a meeting can "remit" or send an item of business to another body for consideration.
Resolution: see remit

RIO: See Regional Officer

RISC: See Regional Industrial Sector Committee

RO: See Regional Officer

RTCL:  Road Transport Commercial & Logistics sector

Standing Orders:  A set of rules to govern the conduct of a meeting

Substantive: the version of a remit including one of more amendments that have been made to the original

Suspend Standing Orders: Agree that for a period of time the meeting will not adhere to the Standing Orders, for example by running past the official end time of the meeting, or to allow someone to speak for longer than normally allowed

TGWU: Transport and General Workers Union, one of the unions that became UNITE

Trade Group: an out of date term for sector, mainly used by ex-TGWU members

UNIFI: Finance union that became part of Amicus

Young: 30 or under

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