Thursday, June 18, 2009

UNISON NDC Rule amendment 13 & 14

Conference , vice President, John Gray, London Region, Housing Association Branch, speaking in favour of Rule changes 13 and 14

Conference thank you for supporting rule change 9 and giving us in the Community and Voluntary Sector an opportunity to better participate in the union and to help us grow the union. But this by its self is not enough. We need wider change, we need to have structures and sectors in place that reflect the diverse and complex organising challenges that we face.

Take my own situation which is not I think untypical and I hope illustrates why we need sectors and occupational groups. I mentioned before that my branch has members in 140 employers all over London and the South East. But my own employer which is a very large housing association with 1600 staff has UNISON members in at least 7 different local government branches in 4 different UNISON regions. Many members are shift workers, many are part time, many work from home, many work regularly from at least two different office locations often over a hundred miles apart, nearly all “hot desk”. We have 6 different pay arrangements, 5 different staff handbooks, 5 different pension schemes and one central bargaining committee. We have members on performance pay working alongside those on TUPE protection who are not.

Housing associations also have specific employment related housing legislation and regulations from Assemblies, Parliaments, local authorities and Regulators.

Conference this is the world I live in and as mentioned before many CVS activists not just in housing would recognise this world. This is why we need as a sector to identify and develop better ways and systems of supporting activists, representing members and involving them in decisions. In such an environment we need to utilise technology better, we need to learn and communicate better. We need to plan and campaign better. To do this we need to have autonomy, we need co-ordination, we need flexibility, we need occupational groups.

Finally conference I have heard some delegates honestly expressing concerns about consultation and perhaps some things may have astray but to my mind I can honestly say that I think we have had consultation overload on this issue and we need to make up our minds and move on.

My very independent minded branch secretary states that she feels she “has been consulted to death”. Remember nothing is set in stone for ever and there is really nothing to fear and everything for the union to gain. Lets just get on with it.

Please support the rule changes.

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