Sunday, 11 October 2009

South West Regional Council

The second council in a row to finish before lunch - due to a lack of anything controversial to debate- was something of a success for my branch at least. We very nearly had a full delegation (only one seat vacant) and we were proportional - no easy feat as anyone with any experience in UNISON will know-and the Assistant Branch Secretary and myself had some very productive meetings with other activists.
The branch had submitted the maximum three motions, two of which (one on this and one on this) ruled out of order. We have been publicly assured by the Chair of The Labour Link that all of our requests in our motion on expenses were already Labour Link policy, and I believe him, so I shall look forward to seeing the results.
The third motion (which was actually admitted to the agenda) called for the Regional Convenors to sign the Peoples Charter on behalf of the region. Now, I won't go into any detail about the content of the Charter, but its a bloody good stab at getting some kind of general left wing manifesto together. Full details are here, but speaking as someone who spent a not inconsiderable amount of time studying the original Peoples Charter in his youth, it bears pointing out that 5 of the 6 demands in that documnent are now enshrined in our law.
However, the Convenor group pointed out that the Charter states the minimum wage should be "Half median earnings", which works out to roughly £6 an hour. UNISON aims for a substantially higher figure, therefore they couldn't possibly sign it as it would breach UNISON policy.
We were therefore asked to remit the motion in favour of a statement supporting "many of the aims" of the charter, and tieing it in with the Million Voices for Change campaign. Having taken some tactical advice, I decided to remit and bring the motion back "Suitably reworded" to avoid it being voted down, as it no doubt would have been if the committee had lead off with "Its policy ain't it". We shall return.
Also got a chance to plug this (bottom of the page), please try and get along if you are anywhere near Plymouth!
And a big thanks to all comrades who dispensed pearls of wisdom to me over the weekend. Now, I really need to start work on my next project, which is a national rule change proposal....

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