24 March 2018

NEC REPORT 16 MARCH 2018

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 10.00.18Summary of report:
         General Secretary’s report
         Subscription rates
         Prioritisation of motions for Congress
         Changes to standing orders for how Congress/sector conferences were run.

General Secretary’s report
The NEC met for the first time since the momentous strike action taken by our HE colleagues, which culminated in a week that will be remembered for a long time to come.

The General Secretary (GS) started her report by congratulating the 15 FE colleges that had taken two days strike action. She explained how she thought that what members in FE had achieved was in some ways as impressive as what had taken place in HE. Without any of the national media coverage the strike action was very solid with all branches reporting bigger turnouts on picket lines as usual.

Next strike action taking place in FE for 13 colleges will be 27, 28, 29 March. The GS was asked to formally send a letter requesting all college Principals to meet with the UCU to discuss our claims.
The report was written before the attempt to sell ACAS brokered deal. Therefore there was no mention of it. NEC UCU left members raised members concerns not just about the way that the deal was communicated but why such an abysmal deal was put in the first place.

The General Secretary explained that it was very unfortunate that the offer went out to members the way it did and acknowledge that it was not at all helpful. She gave a guarantee the proper procedures would be followed next time an offer was made.

The General Secretary gave no explanation as to why the offer was put forward in the first place. An offer that was so clearly out of step with what HE members believed would be a satisfactory offer.

It was only UCU left members who attempted to speak in this section.  None of the IBL NEC members offered an explanation on this. Not one member of the IBL spoke in this session.

She went on to explain that the TUC thought that defending DB was ‘astonishing’ and they were ‘flabbergasted’ that UCU members rejected the offer.

She was questioned on the impact of the strike on casualised members of staff taking action and how they could be assisted. The General Secretary confirmed that there was a hardship fund in operation that members could apply for.

UCU left NEC members made the point that it is only the continuing amplification of pickets and their strategic organisation together with the growing support of the students that has made the success and the move forward of  UUKs position.

The General Secretary reinforced points made by NEC members that the HE strikes have transformed UCU with around 5,000 new members.  This union is no longer the union it was a month ago.

 

Subscription rates

Steve Sanguine, the National Treasurer, presented the financial report requesting that the NEC agree to a budget. Whilst the committee agreed to the budget it was only on the basis that national officers relook at and change the suggested subscription rate rises that were proposed within the budget.

There was a lengthy discussion regarding subscription rates particularly concerning the rates being proposed for those on lower incomes. NEC members were concerned that those on lower incomes were being treated unfairly and argued for a progressive subscription rate system.

 

Prioritisation of motions for Congress

A paper was discussed arguing for a system that allowed branches to prioritise motions going to congress. After a lengthy debate this proposal was rejected on the grounds that minority voices within the union would not be heard within Congress due to the larger sectors within the union dominating the prioritisation ballot.

Changes to standing orders for how Congress/sector conferences are run.
Several amendments to standing orders were debated that attempted to alter the way that debates and amendments were discussed and put to congress/ sector conference.

Amendments to standing orders included:
         Cutting proposers of motions from 5min to 4mins’ speaking time and seconding from 3 to 2 (Passed)
         If there are no speakers against a motion go straight to the vote (Fell)

          No speakers allowed if motion is on existing policy
         Observers to congress/sector conference not to be allowed to speak in debates (Passed)
         Amendments to motions must not commit the union to ‘significant’ costs (passed)
         Amendments to motions must not add anything new to the motions.

UCU left members raised concerns that the prioritisation of motions paper and the amendments to standing orders would lead to a curtailing of democracy in the union. In the context of so many new members joining the union the question of democracy and a sense that their voices will be heard and not marginalised, these proposals could be seen to reinforce a lot of what, especially younger members, think a union is like.

Note: these amendments are to go to Congress before they can be implemented and need a two thirds majority to go forward to become policy.

 

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