Delegates meet in Brighton for Unite’s Rules Conference this week. The new Unite Rank & File leaflet covers the need for resistance to the jobs massacre and to link it to tackling the climate emergency, defending migrants’ rights, sexual harassment and bullying within Unite, some of the proposed rule changes, and the need for solidarity with the indefinite strike at Colloids for the reinstatement of George Gore.
This weekend delegates from across the UK, Ireland and Gibraltar will gather in Brighton for Unite’s 5th Policy Conference. The final agenda suggests there should be some lively and important debates.
Unite Rank and File has produced a leaflet highlighting some of the key issues. If you’re at conference, please help distribute it.
And if you haven’t yet signed up for Unite Rank & File, please do.
Unite will be holding its next Policy Conference in Brighton 2-6 July 2018. This is the opportunity for every member to shape our union’s policy. The process is already under way, with branches and committees sending in motions for the conference agenda. If you want to get a motion onto the agenda, you need to act now. Motions have to be agreed by a branch or committee and sent in to Unite HQ no later than 9 February 2018.
Step one is to draft your motion. There are full guidelines here. If you’ve never done it before, don’t be put off, but do ask for help if you need it.
Each branch and each constitutional committee (i.e. Regional & National Industrial Sector Committee; Regional & National Equality Committee, Regional Committee, Area Activist Committee) can submit one motion on any general policy topic (i.e. not about a particular sector and not requiring a change to Unite’s rules). The National Retired Members’ Committee and each Regional Retired Members’ Co-ordinating Committees can also submit one motion each, but these can only be on about matters solely pertaining to members in retirement.
The meetings held round the country before Unite Rank & File launched came up with lots of ideas, including areas where we can campaign to improve union policy. Note that there’s no need to submit motions to restate existing policy – motions should change existing policy or add to it.
Here are some suggestions to get you thinking – feel free to comment with your own ideas or what you’ve already submitted:
Organising / industrial action:
- Disputes unit support, focused on winning, not just legal compliance, for all disputes from an early stage
- Improve support for company and sub-sector combines
- Increasing lay member involvement in organising
- Response to the Trade Union Act 2016
- Review / overhaul Unite education in the light of government funding cuts
- Facility for levies (e.g. for strike funds) by workplace / employer, not just branch – for many members branch doesn’t directly match employer / workplace
- Recruitment and organising of migrant workers and refugees
Democracy / accountability:
- Review of Unite structures to better support members in multi-region employers
- Investigate the role of union officials in blacklisting, and support the Blacklist Support Group
- Policy against officers approaching employers over the heads of reps / branch officers
- Tackle non-functioning branches so members aren’t left without a functioning branch for long periods
- Improve Unite grievance and complaint procedures
- Change General Secretary elections to Single Transferable Vote
- Ban branches passing member data to campaigns or third parties during Unite elections
- Ban Unite employees (other than candidates) from campaigning in Unite elections
- Official videoed hustings for Unite elections
- Limit the General Secretary’s wage
- Facilitation and control of communication with members during union elections
- Require disclosure / control over fundraising and expenditure during union elections
- Put equality on the agenda of all branch and constitutional committee meetings
- Make regional women’s and equality officer roles full time (or job share)
- Review equality structures to ensure they are effective in representing each equality group, championing its issues, and promoting participation
- Extend the recommendations from the report on women officers in Unite to all employees
- Improve equality training for lay and full-time officers, reps and members
- Including impact on members without UK citizenship and members working overseas in materials about impact of Brexit on workers’ rights
- Workers’ rights to live and work where they want
- Trans rights and Gender Recognition
- Cuts and privatisation
- Councils implementing cuts
- Diversification from destructive projects to good, socially useful, jobs
- Trump visiting the UK
- Housing after Grenfell
- Automation and Artificial Intelligence
- Labour Party
- Universal Credit