Unite Rules Conference was held in Liverpool this week and contained some good lively debate on issues effecting members.
The two most lively debates were on Rule 6 regards the definition of accountable representatives of workers and Rule 14 that contained numerous amendments on election of Full Time Officials.
All of the latter were defeated and the Executive Statement on Rule 6 was accepted by conference. That statement included setting up an EC appeal panel for those who feel they should be regarded as accountable representatives, that panel will be set up before September 2011 in time for the elections of the constitutional committees which will run for the next two years.
An excellent day by day account has been produced by Ian Allinson EC member for IT & Communications
As an EC member representing North East, Yorkshire and Humber I was delighted to see a significant number of delegates from NEYH contribute to the debates. However I am concerned that the ec guidance was overturned on at least twelve occasions.
The EC is supposed to be in touch with the membership so to have our decisions overturned so many times is worrying.
There are in my opinion a few reasons for this not least a lack of proper preparation in considering our views on their amendments and the fact that branches and committees were not asked to supply a brief description of what they were attempting to achieve with their amendments. This would have supplied us with a background into what is affecting the membership and would have provided us with a better understanding of the issues at hand.
However the lay democracy within Unite has been given a significant boost by the decisions made from the floor and the union is stronger for that.
The conference aside the highlight for me was watching Martin Mayer, chair of United Left, attempting to dance to Cuban music giving the impression that he needed another 50p inserting into the back of his neck to speed him up.
To be fair to Martin he did an excellent job in responding for the ec on the debate on Rule 14 which was a difficult role and he did it in a calm and calculated manner, for which he should be congratulated.