Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Conference opens...

UNISON President Norma Stephenson is opening UNISON National Delegate Conference with an opening address attacking the Government for abandoning Labour’s national supporters, warning against the threat of racism and the far right and expressing support for Cuba.

This morning will see the moving of the Annual Report and arguments with the Standing Orders Committee over motions ruled out of order. SOC have timetabled a motion on violence and aggression against staff immediately after the debate on the Union’s Accounts – do they know something we don’t?

The introduction to the second report of the Standing Orders Committee (SOC) is including – which is quite unprecedented – a defensive rationale from the Chair of SOC as to why so many motions have been ruled out of order. He is taking issue in detail with the statistics originally publicised by Malcolm Campbell from Croydon (a.k.a. Beardie Man).

Clytus (Chair of the SOC) is promising that SOC will consider in future years finding ways to be more helpful to branches by advising – ahead of the deadline for submission of motions – on how motions can be revised so as not to be ruled out of order.

Clytus says that most of the problems relate to submissions from just nine branches and that SOC will offer to meet those branches. He says that the SOC don’t wish to be seen as “puppets” of the NEC or national officials.

Interestingly Clytus says that the purpose of Conference is to celebrate our successes – erm, no. Conference is here to run the Union.

Still, we should take SOC up on their offer and try to make Conference a more effective democratic forum.

Update at noon

SOC report number two has been carried with proposals for reference back from Bromley and Hackney voted down - however there are a number of outstanding issues about motions ruled out of order so more discussion may arise.

Mike Hayes has just moved the Annual Accounts and they have been approved so, after just two hours of preliminaries the Conference is now moving on to debate motions submitted by members.

More blogging this afternoon as I have a fringe meeting to organise.

No comments: