Friday, 12 June 2015

UNISON Conference must debate branch funding!

Support Motion 106

Motion 106 is the only motion on the Conference agenda which deals with the vital question of branch funding. The current system for funding our branches was agreed in 2001 and doesn’t deliver for branches in 2015.

Branches are doing more

Since the current branch funding regime was agreed, more and more responsibilities have been shifted to branches from the Centre;

  • ·        There’s less national bargaining and more to do locally;
  • ·        Branches have to deal with more and more employers;
  • ·        Branches now administer the membership system (RMS).

We have to do more with less trade union facility time – and as more and more members join online and pay by direct debit we will only have more work to do to organise and keep our records up to date.

What does Motion 106 say?

Motion 106 tells the truth. It tells our National Executive Council (NEC) that new branch funding arrangements need to give more resources to our branches where the work is being done. It doesn’t try to set out every detail but it allows Conference to give our NEC a clear steer – which it is our right (and duty) as Conference delegates to do.

Why won’t Lambeth branch withdraw?

The NEC have asked Lambeth branch, who are moving the motion, to withdraw it because they are going to bring a report to Conference next year. But they were told to review Branch Funding by Conference in 2011 – and last year they supported a Composite Motion at Conference which included the wording of Motion 106. It’s not too soon to decide.

It’s time Conference had our say!

How can we debate branch funding?

We need to get to Motion 106

Motion 106 is the thirteenth item on the remaining order of business (“the snake”). There are three Composite Motions, and nine other motions (with a total of nineteen amendments) ahead of Motion 106 on the snake. Conference only debates motions on the snake once it has debated timetabled business. There are four Composite Motions timetabled as well as ten other motions (with a total of ten amendments).

All these other motions reflect the priorities of UNISON members too. It is important that Conference gets to debate and vote upon them. It is not important that we sit through several speeches from people agreeing with each other on each motion or amendment.

Moving the question be put

If Conference is to get through its business, delegates need to be prepared to move “the question be put”. We don’t come to Conference to make friends or make speeches – but to take decisions that matter to the members we represent back in our branches.

Moving the question is a positive step taken by delegates who believe UNISON should continue to be a democratic trade union. Moving the question gives Conference the choice about whether it wants to hear more speeches or get on and take a decision. Delegates should try to get through business so that Conference reaches Motion 106.

Reprioritise Motion 106

In case Conference business does not move swiftly enough, delegates also need to reprioritise Motion 106 for debate on Friday afternoon (if it is not taken sooner). As delegates when we reprioritise motions we have to remember that we are here to represent the interests of our members in our branches. 

Support Motion 106

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