"In June I was elected as the Yorkshire and Humberside male seat representative on UNISON’s National Executive Council (NEC). This is the first time I have stood to be a member of our NEC, so I am sure you can understand when I say I am quite proud to have won the election! I am extremely grateful to those members who voted for me and to those branches who nominated me. I hope I can increase both next time.
This election saw a big shake up of the NEC with a lot of new members being elected, replacing some experienced members of our union such as our own Wendy Nichols who has been a formidable voice for our members on the NEC for some time.
Elected Presidential Team 2017-19
The first meeting of the 2017-2019 NEC was immediately following the National Delegate Conference in Brighton in June. This meeting was to elect our lay presidential team for the next two years. I was pleased that Margaret McKee was elected President, Gordon McKay was elected Senior Vice-President and Josie Bird was elected Junior Vice-President.
Margaret has been a catering assistant at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for 38 years. She has been an activist for most of that time as well as Joint Chair of her branch for the past 10 years. She was also awarded the TUC women’s gold badge at the 2016 Congress in recognition of her union and community work. Gordon is from UNISON’s Ayrshire and Arran Health Branch and has worked as a Mental Health Nurse for 30 years. Josie is Branch Secretary of the Newcastle City Branch and has been employed as an administrative officer in Newcastle for 16 years. You may also know her from her work on the Finance Committee.
First NEC Meeting
The first full NEC meeting was on Tuesday 4th July at the UNISON Centre in London. The first part of the day was made up of appointing members of the NEC to a number of strategic and functional committee’s. I was selected by the Presidential Team to serve on the Staffing Committee and Development and Organisation Committee.
The second and last part of the day was to hear the General Secretary report, which was presented by Dave Prentis. He spoke about how members have been suffering under the public sector pay cap and how the public debate should not only be framed around our uniformed emergency services, but around all public sector workers; many of whom are often not seen.
You can see more details here: Union gears up for a summer of campaigning
The General Secretary took a number of questions from members of the NEC, although some were statements rather than questions. I do hope to see less personal statements and more focus from some NEC members next time so we can concentrate on representing our 1.3 million members.
I am in the process of writing to UNISON branches across Yorkshire and Humberside to let them know how I intend to communicate with members over the next two years to keep them updated on my NEC activities. I also welcome invitations from branch committees to speak and take questions.