General Secretary Report
The main topic for discussion at the December meeting of the NEC was the result of the General Election the previous week. Obviously the result was devastating for anyone who wanted to see an end to the years of Tory austerity and the bulk of the meeting discussed the potential reasons and how we could respond to it. There was general agreement that a Tory government with a significant majority would be likely to attack trade unions, and attack the people we provide services to.
The GS outlined some of the reasons he thought had contributed to the election defeat for Labour. He said he believed it was more complex than Brexit and that reasons others had cited to him included saying the manifesto had ‘over-promised’ and lacked credibility, that Labour had become a ‘metropolitan educated elite’, and that the rallies were talking to those who already were going to vote Labour. It was also said that the Labour Link was the place to discuss nominations for the next Labour leader and deputy leader in the forthcoming election.
The points generated a discussion around whether or not these were really the case, and also about issues like why Labour Councils needed to be more vocal against Tory cuts, about the impact in Scotland and the independence movement, and the need for greater opposition to austerity. NEC members also raised the need to look at how we could be part of mobilising those who campaigned for Labour, especially young people, and said that the discussions about why the Tories had won and what we did next weren’t just for the Labour Link.
There were at times quite strong differences of opinion about why Labour had lost the election, and particularly some ‘traditional Labour’ seats. Although NEC members had differing views on this, there was agreement that we would need to organise and challenge the Tories.
There was feedback from the Grovember recruitment initiative and it was reported that most regions and service groups had increased their membership.
The legal ruling for term-time workers (Brazel ruling in the Court of Appeal) was raised as an important legal challenge that we can organise around. This is the ruling that all workers are entitled to 28 days paid leave. It was reported that UNISON has agreed to waive the 4 week membership rule for such cases to help recruitment and maximising both the number of cases and impact. See the link below for the UNISON press release on the case:
Service Group Executive Elections
A report around election procedures was received, which led to a discussion about needing clarity on the low pay rate, and how we can increase engagement and turnout. This included electronic voting, and who could campaign where. Although there wasn’t agreement on every point of the procedures, they were passed.
The budget for the year was agreed, and the draft organising objectives were also passed for 2020.
There is also a report of the NEC meeting on the UNISON website that can be found in the link below, and this report from the 4 Regional reps is to supplement that:
If you would like one of your Regional NEC reps to come and speak at your branch/AGM then you can contact us below:
Liz Wheatley – firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Davies – Helen.Davies@barnetunison.org.uk
Jo-Ann Stacey-Marran – email@example.com
Eddie Brand – firstname.lastname@example.org