NHS Biomedical Scientists at Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust vote to go on strike
The Unite Executive Council have agreed that the 6th Unite Policy Conference will be held in the ACC, Liverpool, on Monday 29th June to Friday 3rd July 2020.
In accordance with Rule 12.2 and 12.7 motions are invited from all branches and committees entitled to submit them i.e. Regional Committees, Regional Industrial Sector Committees, Area Activist Committees, Regional Equalities Committees, National Industrial Sector Committees and National Equalities Committees. In accordance with Rule 12.7.1 the National Retired Members Committee and Regional Retired Members Co-ordinating Committees may submit one motion each to Policy Conference on matters solely pertaining to members in retirement.
Who can submit a motion?
Branch Secretaries and Fulltime Officials with responsibility for committees entitled to submit motions are requested to bring this communication to the notice of their respective branch or committee as early as possible; in order to afford them an opportunity to submit a motion for inclusion in the agenda of the Conference. (Retired Member and Community branches may not submit motions to this conference)
What a motion should look like
It is not necessary to re-affirm existing union policy for it to remain in place. Once agreed policy is only altered by motions which explicitly seek to do so. To assist your members when determining your motion, you will find a record of the policies agreed at previous Policy Conferences on the Unite Website.
We have also drawn up the enclosed guidelines to assist your branch or committee when writing your motion. When considering a motion, you should also note the following:
- Each branch or committee may submit 1 motion only;
- Motions should be on general items of policy only;
- Motions must be limited to one subject only;
- Motions to amend the rules are not permissible;
- Motions which are specific to the business of a particular industrial sector will not be placed on the agenda but may be referred to the relevant National Industrial Sector Committee.
Sending in your motion
Motions must be sent by e-mail in Word format (instructions and form attached) to email@example.com stating clearly the name of the branch or committee submitting the motion and the name and contact details of the relevant branch secretary or fulltime official (in the case of a committee) and the date of the meeting at which the motion was agreed. For verification purposes the enclosed motion form duly completed and signed should be scanned and sent by e-mail or sent by post to, General Secretary (Policy Conference/7th floor), Unite the Union, Unite House, 128 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8TN to arrive no later than 12 noon on 31st January 2020 with the text of the motion attached. Motions arriving after that date will not be placed upon the Agenda.
The Unite Rank and File National Committee (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”) aims to:
- Build solidarity;
- Encourage resistance and make our union do more to encourage it;
- Put activists in touch with each other, share information and ideas;
- Champion independent workers’ organisation and challenge the toxic “in partnership with management” culture so widespread in Unite;
- Support the development of rank and file networks and campaigning initiatives throughout our union;
- Campaign to reform and reinvigorate Unite’s democratic structures to promote a bottom-up culture where members participate, challenge discrimination and are in control;
- Campaign to change Unite policies in the interests of the working class;
- 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
- The Committee may define minimum levels of financial contribution for Supporters
- 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
- 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
- Meetings may take place in person or by electronic means
- A record of all meetings must be kept
- Decisions will be taken by a simple majority vote, and may be at a meeting or otherwise
- At least once a year, normally at the first meeting of the year, the Committee will approve the audited accounts for the previous year
- Meetings will take place when:
- Called by one of the Co-Chairs, or
- Agreed by a meeting of Committee members, or
- Agreed by a majority of the Officers
- Cheque signatories will be the Treasurer, the Co-Chairs, and such other Committee members as the Committee decides
- 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
- Receipts for all expenditure should be provided to the Treasurer where practicable
- The Auditor may not be a member of the Committee
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Decisions to spend money may be taken by the Committee or, if less than £100 in a month, by the Officers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Committee may agree to allow an Officer to delegate part of their duties where appropriate.
- Where roles are shared, only one of the people sharing a role can vote on any decision.
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.
The release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report last autumn was a game changer in laying bare how serious the climate crisis is and how little time we have to turn things around. In the wake of Extinction Rebellion and the massive global school strikes, a call has now been made for a global general strike on the week of the 20th September.
Lecturers’ union UCU and bakers’ union BFAWU have already announced their support. We believe its time for Unite to play a leading role in the campaign to stop runaway climate change. As the country’s largest union we should throw our weight behind this campaign and build for the biggest possible strike against the climate crisis in September. The Unite executive meets shortly and we hope they will issue a statement supporting members who want to join the global strike. Striking isn’t easy and every workplace needs support to take the maximum action they can – whatever that is.
Earlier this year, the UNITE Executive Council voted to significantly increase strike pay (Dispute Benefit). All members now engaged in strike action will receive Dispute Benefit of £50 per day from day one, an increase from £35 previously.
This is unrivalled in the trade union movement. It sends a strong message to those companies intent on exploiting their workforce, that UNITE members will be financially as well as industrially supported and should provide even more confidence and encouragement to members needing to take such action to achieve their objective.