General Secretary report
The meeting opened with the General Secretary’s report. For those of you who aren’t familiar with how this works, the first main item at all NEC meetings is always a report from the General Secretary (GS) on issues since the previous meeting. The first topic was that UNISON is still recruiting, with an increase of 8413 members so far this year.
It was also reported that UNISON has taken more industrial action than all other unions put together and the disputes at Compass and AddAction were specifically mentioned and should be publicised.
The GS reported on activities around the Climate Emergency in Green Action week, where there were stall, rallies and protest (there are some pictures and a report on the UNISON website).
The legal win about all employees being entitled to a minimum of 28 days paid leave was reported.
The report then moved on to Brexit and the Labour Party conference, which was covered by Gordon McKay. There was a lively debate around the vote on Brexit at the Labour Party conference as UNISON was the only major union to vote for the motion that was defeated at the conference (3 other smaller unions did too). NEC members expressed concerns as they felt that to vote this way was against UNISON policy, and that a more accurate reflection of current union policy would have been to vote for the other motion on Brexit (the one that won and is now Labour policy). This disagreement was not resolved in the meeting but Brexit will continue to be a topic of discussion and debate.
The other main discussion point was what else could be done around the Climate Emergency, including supporting the Extinction Rebellion protests that had started 2 days previously. It was agreed that UNISON would do more around this, including contacting the Scottish TUC about the COP26 talks that would be in Glasgow in Dec 2020, and trying to pull together a National Green Network.
The next item discussed was the likelihood of a general election before the end of the year, where a 3-pronged strategy was outlined – influencing our own member, engaging the general public and supporting Labour candidates via the Labour Link. There was a brief discussion around Jeremy Corbyn having rallies like in the last election, where the vote went up by about 3 million, and whether UNISON could do a comparison of the main party manifestos which could highlight issues like the NHS, education etc.
The next recruitment initiative in November was discussed, including that it would also focus on retention and the need for branches to have regular contact with new members.
There is a report on the UNISON website and this one by your regional NEC reps is to supplement it. Go to https://www.unison.org.uk/news/2019/10/nec-october-3/
If you would like one of your regional NEC reps to come to speak at your branch/AGM then you can contact us as below:
Liz Wheatley – email@example.com or 020 7974 1633
Helen Davies – Helen.Davies@barnetunison.org.uk
Jo-Ann Stacey-Marran – firstname.lastname@example.org
Eddie Brand – email@example.com