The meeting of the National Executive Council started with tributes by the President to Assistant General Secretary Cliff Williams and long standing NEC member Irene Stacey who recently passed away. They are both remembered for years of service to UNISON and the Trade Union movement and will be sadly missed by those who knew them.
The majority of the NEC was debating motions being put forward to the 2018 National Delegate Conference from various committees as well as some of the arrangements. Some of you may know that 2018 marks UNISONs 25th anniversary, which will form the main theme of this year’s conference. Also this year marks 100 years since women won the right to vote and 20 years since the Good Friday Agreement, which will also form part of this year’s conference.
The NEC agreed to put forward 12 motions for debate at the NDC;
- Reshaping and resourcing our union
- Promoting the union as an organising union
- Learning for the future
- Workers’ rights in Turkey
- Modern slavery
- Public Service Champions 2018/19
- The UK/EU withdrawal agreement and the future of the UK/EU relationship: campaigning for a new EU deal fit for workers
- Cuts to our safety net
- Education is a public service
- The crisis in health and social care
- Pay Up Now! Real pay rises for all public service workers
- Tackling xenophobia and the far right.
The NEC agreed proposed changes to the union’s rules around the political fund to bring the union in line with measures in the Trade Union Act, which will now go to NDC.
The proposals were developed during a two-year consultation process and have been agreed by Labour Link Forum and the General Political Fund Committee.
A new application form is being produced and sent to all branches, with instructions to destroy all old UNISON application forms to ensure the union complies with the legislation around the political funds as well as the new rules on data protection, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
General Secretary’s Report
The NEC agreed with General Secretary Dave Prentis that a message of solidarity should be sent to striking Birmingham Homecare Workers who are taking action against 40% cuts to the service. Also a message will be sent to UNISON members working at Northamptonshire County, which has recently invoked a section 114 notice warning of an impending financial crisis.
Over 650 black members attended this year’s UNISON Black Members Conference; the biggest meeting of black members in Europe. The conference debated tackling racism and inequality, especially in a post Brexit world. The General Secretary updated the NEC that UNISON is proud to be involved with a number of anti-racism groups.
Over 850 women attended the UNISON Women’s Conference and debated issues directly impacting women and how our union can move forward in tackling those issues.
The General Secretary updated the NEC on significant demonstrations that will be happening in 2018 including;
- Saturday 12th May 2018, which is going to be a major TUC organised national demonstration in London that will be family friendly. Numbers attending should be substantial and UNISON members will form a major part.
- Saturday 30th June 2018 may also be a date for the diary for another major demonstration, but is yet to be confirmed.
UNISON is looking at an overall increase across the union in membership, although not every region has seen an increase. Private sector membership continues to increase by 4,000 members with the majority of public sector membership losses being in Local Government. Young member recruitment has been increasing year on year with over 16,000 young members joining in 2017 alone, but the priority is now to get those young members involved and active within our union.