Question 1 – Reduction of the NEC to 40 members. We should say No because:
- The GS wants to weaken and bypass the union’s democratic decision-making structures and turn UCU into a top-down servicing union rather than a campaigning member-led one;
- The projected sums saved are minimal or illusory and will make little difference to services currently provided for members;
- The union is financially healthy; – We are given no details of this plan or how members will be represented on the NEC; – No thought seems to have been given to Equality representation on the proposed new NEC; – Her referendum is already ultra vires to the union’s constitution and democratic procedures and this inspires no confidence in the GS’s custodianship of UCU’s democratic constitution.
Question 2 – To consult members on offers that a majority of negotiators decide are final, before discussion by UCU’s relevant industrial committee. We should say No because:
- Contrary to the GS’s implications, the current procedure where such decisions are made by the relevant industrial relations committee is more democratic, involving more elected reps than her proposal that negotiators should make this decision.
- Recent experiences in the TPS, IFL and USS disputes indicate strongly that the NEC reps are in closer touch with members’ views than national negotiators, some of whom are paid officials.
- Elected NEC members, with their links to branches and regions, should be those who decide (a) whether an offer really is final, and (b) what recommendation to make to members.
Question 3 – National negotiators to be elected by members in the sector, not at Annual Sector Conference. We should say No because:
- It is not clear whether members would have any right of recall – It is not clear who these directly elected negotiators will report to
- There is no information about how gender and sectoral balance among the
negotiators will be maintained
- It is not clear whether they will attend HEC/FEC or Sector Conference (this would be
an additional expense if they are not already members of these bodies.) – It is not clear what information members will have about candidates before electing
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