Unite Rank and File National Committee: Constitution and Rules

1)    Aims

The Unite Rank and File National Committee (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”) aims to:

  1. Build solidarity;
  2. Encourage resistance and make our union do more to encourage it;
  3. Put activists in touch with each other, share information and ideas;
  4. Champion independent workers’ organisation and challenge the toxic “in partnership with management” culture so widespread in Unite;
  5. Support the development of rank and file networks and campaigning initiatives throughout our union;
  6. Campaign to reform and reinvigorate Unite’s democratic structures to promote a bottom-up culture where members participate, challenge discrimination and are in control;
  7. Campaign to change Unite policies in the interests of the working class;

2)    Organisation

  1. Supporters of Unite Rank and File who are members of Unite (or its successors) and not employed by a union are eligible to be members of the Committee
  2. The Committee may define minimum levels of financial contribution for Supporters
  3. Officers, other members of the Committee, and an Auditor will be elected by Supporters of Unite Rank and File or, where there are vacancies, may be co-opted by the Committee
  4. The term of office for Committee members is until the next annual meeting of Unite Rank and File Supporters, which will normally be held in the last quarter of the year
  5. Meetings may take place in person or by electronic means
  6. A record of all meetings must be kept
  7. Decisions will be taken by a simple majority vote, and may be at a meeting or otherwise
  8. At least once a year, normally at the first meeting of the year, the Committee will approve the audited accounts for the previous year
  9. Meetings will take place when:
    1. Called by one of the Co-Chairs, or
    2. Agreed by a meeting of Committee members, or
    3. Agreed by a majority of the Officers
  10. Cheque signatories will be the Treasurer, the Co-Chairs, and such other Committee members as the Committee decides
  11. All expenditure shall require two signatures, neither of which may be the payee, a member of their immediate family or someone with the same address
  12. Receipts for all expenditure should be provided to the Treasurer where practicable
  13. The Auditor may not be a member of the Committee

3)    Roles

  1. The Officers will include two Co-Chairs (at least one female), an Editor, Assistant Editors, Treasurer, a Solidarity Coordinator and such other positions as the Committee may decide.
  2. The duties of the Co-Chairs shall be to arrange and notify Committee members of meetings; to chair meetings; to secure agreement of the Committee to the agenda for discussion at each meeting; to secure a full and frank discussion of all matters of contention and an expeditious conduct of uncontentious business.
  3. The Editor and Assistant Editors are responsible for public communication including a web site, social media, email newsletters and leaflets, subject to guidelines approved by the Committee. Where the Editorial team consider a decision contentious, they may decide to refer it to the Officers or to the Committee.
  4. Coordinators covering regions, sectors, equality strands, retired and community members, will, in their parts of Unite, encourage people to become Unite Rank and File Supporters, feed in reports and requests for solidarity, build solidarity, campaign etc. and encourage local networking. Unless the Committee decides otherwise, the Coordinators are not Officers. There will be up to two Coordinators for each area, providing that if there is more than one then at least one must not be male.
  5. The Solidarity Coordinator will gather information about disputes and campaigns and action that can be taken to support them. They will provide this information to the editorial team for dissemination, and work with Coordinators to organise solidarity.
  6. The Committee may delegate decisions to the Officers. In such cases the decisions must be reported to the whole Committee no later than its next meeting.
  7. Decisions to spend money may be taken by the Committee or, if less than £100 in a month, by the Officers.
  8. The duties of the Treasurer shall be to receive and bank all monies due to the Committee; to pay all liabilities incurred by the Committee; to reimburse the Officers and Committee members any expenses they properly incur in carrying out the approved duties assigned to them; to report on the group’s financial position; to prepare an annual income and expenditure account and balance sheet, which shall be presented to the first Committee meeting in each calendar year. The Treasurer shall submit the annual income and expenditure account and balance sheet, together with all relevant paperwork (e.g. the cash book, bank statements and all receipts and copies of invoices), to the Auditor at least one month before the membership meeting at which the annual financial report will be presented.
  9. Audited accounts will be made available within a reasonable time to any Supporter, after redaction of any names that may be required for data protection reasons. All Committee members will be asked to agree to their names being unredacted.
  10. The duties of the Auditor shall be to conduct annually an audit of the financial records maintained by the Treasurer and to certify whether the income and expenditure account and balance sheet prepared by the Treasurer are a true and correct record of the financial transactions and a true and correct statement of the financial position of the group.
  11. The Committee may agree to allow an Officer to delegate part of their duties where appropriate.
  12. Where roles are shared, only one of the people sharing a role can vote on any decision.

4)    Dissolution

The Committee shall be dissolved by a resolution of a special Committee meeting called for this purpose.  Not less than fourteen days’ notice shall be given by a Co-Chair to all Committee members of a meeting at which a motion to dissolve the Committee shall be considered.  The notice of the meeting shall contain the terms of the motion to dissolve the group.

5)    Changes to rules

These rules may be amended by a resolution of a special Committee meeting called for this purpose.  Not less than fourteen days’ notice shall be given by a Co-Chair to all Committee members of a meeting at which one or more motions to amend the rules shall be considered. The notice of the meeting shall contain the terms of the motions to amend the rules of the Committee.

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