• Rule Conference 2015, Brighton Conference Centre, 06-10 July 2015


    Election vs Appointment of Officials.



    Executive oppose the election of officials or selection of various committees on the basis that it would damage accountability by denying EC and GS management of employees.


    Officers might be tempted to focus on a few large groups for votes than serving all their members interests.


    Elections would through out the process of assessment centres for selection that encourages a diverse shortlist of candidates.


    Movers of amendments to Election:


    ·         Candidates have specific or specialist knowledge of constituents ie. Construction sector.

    ·         Regional Secretaries should be elected by regional members not appointed by GS & EC in a process that is seen as political.

    ·         Encourages involvement of members at grass roots level.


    Executive Statement AGREED, therefore all other motions REJECTED ie. no election of officials.



    Rule 18 Workplace Representation


    First amendments dealt with tidying up.


    18/3 seeks to require minimum of 5 members to appoint a rep -REJECTED.  Conference speakers said it would be the death of starting to organise, plus a lot of workplaces within some sectors such as printing were very small ie. Less than 10 employees and of course not all are likely to be members.


    18/4 requires new reps to receive appropriate training within 12 months and additional appropriate training for re-elected reps.  Some felt it did not go far enough and noted delays and over subscribed training courses.  AGREED


    18/5 Increased support of union reps at work including fuller support and investigations into cases of discrimination and dismissal.  AGREED



    Labour Party Debate


    EC statement rejected change to rules at this time and maintain affiliation to Labour. 


    Amendments ranged between minor changes to the relationship to disaffiliation from Labour altogether and various positions in between.


    Impassioned speakers on both sides of the argument, making some very valid and persuasive points. 


    EC Statement 2 was AGREED and all amendments REJECTED.



    The Political Fund


    22/10 Call to return political fund money – 30% - to the regions for the furtherance of Regional Political strategies.  REJECTED



    Labour Party Conference


    22/12 Call that delegation to the LPC comprise an equal part of lay members. AGREED



    Community Membership


    NR1 – A new section of rules dealing with Community and Student membership enabling the activities of this section of activists.  AGREED





    3/1 – A comprehensive rule amendment from the EC that incorporates a range of memberships into rule.  Encompasses some other amendments (one of which withdrew in favour of EC amendment).  AGREED.


    3/6 – Amendment seeking to clarify rule around members workplace determining constitutional matters.  Consequence that this may bar activists who work in one area for being active where they live if different. REJECTED.


    Retired Memberships


    EC Statement 3: Retired members at Policy & Rules Conferences and Executive Council.  Provides for observer status but not full delegate places.  Many amendments sought to give voting rights at one body or more.  EC Statement AGREED.


    10/1 & 15/1 – some tidying up of various rules.  However subsequent amendments aim to award delegate rights to Regional Council Retired Member observers.  10/1 &15/1 AGREED



    Membership Discipline


    27/1 – Increased powers to suspend and discipline in light of increasing attacks including cyber bullying against reps and activists carrying out legitimate union duties.  Speakers spoke of a lot of hate crimes being perpetrated with especial vitriol against women activists. AGREED.



    Executive Council


    14/4 – Fairness in electoral processes, notifications etc.  AGREED.


    14/6 – Audit of industrial sectors of the membership to make sure that those standing for office are indeed from that sector. EC opposed stating that they already verify data.  Pat had right to reply and commented that EC statement was “Bollocks” to much applause. 14/6 AGREED (after a call for tellers and even more people obviously supporting so tellers dismissed!)


    14/12 – Addressed some exiting rule but also sought to have a BAEM delegate to EC from each Region. REJECTED.


    14/14 – Amendment to limit EC members to 3 terms.  REJECTED after some good debate.


    14/20 – Prohibits EC members from being stand down officers during term of office. AGREED (after tellers called).



    Election of EC and GS


    16/1 – EC amendment makes a wide number of changes to electoral processes to deal with some actual issues. REJECTED by conference after tellers called.


    16/16 – Enabling new clause for the mid term election and representation of sectors on the EC.  AGREED.


    A large number of other amendments were REJECTED.


    16/2 – Seeks to put the election of EC members after the election of workplace reps and not before, so as to ensure that EC members are current, otherwise there could be the position that an EC member could be elected yet a few months later not be elected as a workplace rep that would require a new election to the EC.  Unfortunately, the rule amendment is determined by a preceding rule that throws the GS into the mix and requires him to be a workplace representative. REJECTED.


    19/2 – Seeks to require quarterly financial reporting to some detail … opposed heavily as it would hand ammunition to enemies of the Union. 19/2 REJECTED.


    19/4 – To set up a central fund that would fund sign language interpreters at branch, other meetings and events to enable deaf members to participate as fully as possible in the union.  AGREED


    21/1 – Expenses policy to be applied consistently over the functions of the union including education.  AGREED.





    NR/2 – New rule that creates an executive for Scotland within Unite to accommodate a new political, economic and social reality within Scotland.  It is not about splitting up the union, but enables Unite is Scotland to best represent their members at a local level.


    NR/3 – As NR/2 but in addition addresses/enables the sector policy to be determined in Scotland.





    Young Members


    Group A4 amendments


    EC amendment was generally supported from the floor except with the exception of a deferred (2018) age change from 30 to 27 as the upper age limit to being classed as a young member.  The Unite Young Members committee believe that in order to be relevant to young workers at the lower end of the age range that the upper should not be so distant.  Some opposition from delegates who became active as Young Members in their late 20's and found the structure very useful for developing and progressing their union activism.


    EC amendment was AGREED and also 14/1 was AGREED, giving Young Members a seat on the EC.



    Lay Office (rule 6)


    6/1 AGREED which brings Young Members further into the structures plus some clarifying points (EC amendment).


    6/2 Seeks to give community activists more rights within regional equalities structures to hold office.  REJECTED – EC and conference recognised that these are not accountable workplace representatives or, if LGBT or disabled, members in employment.


    6/8 Moved by the East Midlands and reinforces the principles of representation by members in employment and elected to hold office as accountable workplace reps and also addresses some points of discipline, for periods of transition with regards to work and/or victimisation of reps at work which may affect their representative status unfairly.  REJECTED


    Concern expressed by some conference delegates that it contains some harsh elements ie that if someone loses their job then they also lose their positions in the office.


    6/12 To enable constitutional regional LGBT and Disability equalities committees to comprise of community members where accountable representatives or members in employment are not available. REJECTED


    6/S Addresses 2 situations – one to deal with some members who poach members for another union,  or people who suddenly become members to stand for election (ie employer plants) and may leave soon after and the other that a candidate for EC is up to date with their subs (not 13 weeks or more in arrears).  AGREED



    EC Members


    14/19 – EC members not to hold any position on their elected constitutional committees but are able to attend as observers. REJECTED





    17/7 – Seeks to expand explicit single equality officers in rules by suggestion rather than by mandate. REJECTED


    17/9 – Seeks to keep roles of Secretary and Treasurer separate plus require two signatories on cheque book.  EC opposed as two prescriptive and might harm small branches where people have to hold two roles.  REJECTED


    17/11 – Extends support and undertaking to investigate where branch officers are subject to victimisation.  AGREED.





    2/1 – to delete the requirement to always act within the law.  GS spoke and asked if it was reasonable for gay men pre 1967 not to engage in sexual relationships just because elected governments said so.  Also drew on GCHQ when Mrs T outlawed trade unionism.  Union needs to be able to break the law where it is unreasonable and unjust and oppresses the people and workers.


    New Rules


    NR5 & NR6 dealing with Grievance Procedures were remitted following debate to the NEC.





    11/1 A number of items covered by the EC, importantly allowing equality delegates to attend RISCS.  AGREED.


    11/4 - puts a cap on BAEM and Women election places to 50%. REJECTED


    11/5 – includes situations where men might be in a minority. REJECTED


    11/6 – remitted as some issues with it.  Dealt with areas where basic proportionality could not be met.


    11/8 – calls for equalities committees to be staggered. REMITTED following assurances for this to be reviewed.


    11/9 – calls for equalities committees to be run consecutively. Also REMITTED on the same basis as 11/8


    11/7 – looking to include Latin Americans and Eastern Europeans within BAEM definition. REMITTED following heavy opposition from conference and EC.


    12/9 – wants delegates to Policy Conference directly from National Equality Committees – REMITTED


    12/10 – Similar but from Regional Committees – REMITTED


    13/6 – Same proposal, different wording, to 12/9 – REMITTED



    Rules Amendment


    13/4 & 13/5 Want to amend rule to remove EC ability to amend rule between conferences (excepting legal requirement) and recall conference. REJECTED.


    General Secretary


    15/2 – Fixed term of office of 5 years for GS. AGREED


    15/3 – Provisions for Deputy GS should something happen to GS





    8/2 – Splitting London and Eastern Regions.  A lot of L&E delegates spoke against … REJECTED


    8/4 – Replace Area Activists with District Committees constituting a wider and more diverse and inclusive range of activists. REJECTED.



    Membership Contributions


    4/1 Amendments to deal with non payment of subs and how it will affect membership. AGREED


    4/5 Dispute benefit at the level of the living wage. REJECTED


    4/6 Addresses issue of lapsed members and services not being available during the period of lapse. AGREED





    NR4 Observer seat to EC – currently do not sit in any Region.  Mover of speech spoke well and gained the popular acclamation of conference.  AGREED



    Education Dept Tutors


    12/14 Tutors employed by Unite are not able to attend Policy Conference as delegates. AGREED

    13/12 As above but Rules Conference. AGREED



    Constitutional Cycle


    6/9 Period of office for reps to be changed from 3 years to 2.  REJECTED


    12/5 Policy Conference to be held ever year instead of every 2.  REJECTED


    NR/7 Putting all constitutional conferences on a 3 year cycle. REJECTED



    Electronic Voting


    12/13 – Electronic voting at Policy conference. REMITTED

    13/8 – Electronic voting at Rules conference. REMITTED




    Notes by:


    Adam Umney


    East Midlands Youth Workers, Community & Not For Profit Sector

    East Midlands LGBT

    Post Rules Conference Analysis of Equalities Amendments.


    The Equalities activists did gain an important right in rule, which is the ability of a Regional Equality Committee delegate (not Retired) to attend their own Regional Industrial Sector Committee. This is in addition to the RISC being able to send delegates who identify with an Equality group to the appropriate REC.



    Two similar amendments sought to stagger or make consecutive specific equalities conferences in order to enable people with multiple identities the opportunity to participate in the appropriate conferences. 


    There was opposition from the EC and both main caucuses in their respective literature, opposing the amendments.


    The AGS for Equality spoke against the proposal and said there was a joint plenary session of all the groups.


    Movers of both amendments therefore chose to remit in the face of this opposition rather than lose them altogether. 



    Another amendment sought to broaden out the principles of proportionality for elections to include LGBT and Disabled members.  It was clear in its wording even though some people felt otherwise. This had EC opposition too, not least because the union database does not hold sufficient data on members who self identify as LGBT and disability.


    The mover of the amendment did produce Unites own statistics for his sector that demonstrated a large constituent of LGBT new members.


    Discussions held outside of conference about how LGBT and Disability EC seats are elected by all members and not their respective committees.  This is a continuing and oppressive practice of communities not being able to have sole choice of who their representatives are.


    Points for consideration:


    There is a clear lack of consistency between Equality Groups with LGBT and Disabled members being the most disadvantaged and denied the same level of service and representation as some other equalities communities.  This is evidenced by the current arrangements of the equalities conferences (affects black members too), the disregard for proportionality and the denial of each communities right to choose its own representatives.


    The notion that all equalities conferences get to discuss each others issues at a plenary is untrue and misleading.  Plenaries are used as platforms for the General Secretary to address all the conferences at once (we want the GS present) but mostly as an opportunity for a Labour MP to show their face and tell us what they think we want and to make up excuses for why they won’t deliver real equality.


    Retired members also experience some disadvantage in that they don't stop being Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority, LGBT or disabled.  Some consideration should be given to enable them to have subgroups within the retired members’ structure or may be even observers to other equalities structures.


    LGBT delegates need to organise prior to conferences and agree a strategy and also some social activities to ensure new and existing delegates are not left isolated.  It might also be the case that other equality groups would benefit from doing this too.


    Equalities delegates have defied EC and caucus opinion in predecessor rules conferences with success.  Our delegates need to rediscover this confidence and not allow others with little first hand knowledge to tell us what they want and need.


    It would also be a clear advantage for all equalities groups to liaise more and develop more joined up narrative to address issues of policy and rule, thus increasing success at conference.


    Consideration should also be given by Equalities groups of holding their own fringe event, if not at a conference venue then at a venue of their own choosing.


  • Unite Policy Conference 2014

    30 June - 04 July 2014, Liverpool AAC
    CYWNFP Delegate, East Midlands Region

    Monday 30 June 2014

    Tony Woodhouse, Chair of Executive Committee

    Opened and welcomed conference, stressing the importance of the NHS, renationalisation of privatised industries and the need for Labour to reflect the aspirations of our members.

    Composite 1: Apprenticeships

    Valuing, developing and investing in high quality apprenticeships. Young member called for reasonable, realistic pay to support and meet the living costs of young apprentices.
    Disgust expressed about Labour's plans to remove benefits from young people rather than invest in developing jobs and apprenticeships.


    Composite 2: Public Ownership of Utilities (AGREED)

    Bringing energy and water companies back into public ownership and eradicating fuel poverty.

    Composite 3: The Economy, Neo Liberalism and Privatisation (AGREED).

    The damage of neo liberalism and privatisation to the UK economy, the exploitation of those industries, the public purse in subsidies and users paying ever increasing prices for industries they used to own.

    Composite 4: The Economy and Public Ownership of Buses, Rail and Postal Services (AGREED)

    Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Health Minister

    Spoke about the dangers of Retail politics – parties scrabbling around a shrinking centre ground and competing with headline grabbing soundbytes; politics for the moment replacing politics for peoples lives.

    Spoke at length of the importance and value of the NHS and how Labour will repeal the Tory NHS Legislation. Also opposing EU/US trade legislation requiring access to public services.

    Labour to bring forward a bill in the next few weeks to remove the worst parts of the Tory Legislation.

    Spoke of the crisis of Care and Support Services – underfunded, underpaid, zero hours contracts, minimal services for our elderly and vulnerable citizens with increasing risk of abuse. Labour will bring it up, invest in Social Care Services and unify it under the NHS.

    B13 Bringing Utilities back into public ownership (Agreed)

    C5 Living Wage (AGREED)
    B19 Low Pay (Remitted)
    B21 General Wage Increases (remitted)

    Discussed the importance of the living wage, problems of a minimum wage and lack of collective bargaining and the increasing pay gaps and inequality.

    However B19 advocates pay differentials between young workers and older workers.

    B16 Industrial Democracy and Common Ownership (Carried)
    B17 UK & Irish Manufacturing

  • Unite Policy Conference 2014

    30 June - 04 July 2014, Liverpool AAC CYWNFP Delegate, East Midlands Region Monday 30 June 2014 Tony Woodhouse, Chair of Executive Com
  • TUC LGBT 2014 (17th of that name)

    26-27 June 2014, Congress House
    Report by Adam Umney, Delegate TUC Midlands Region

    Paul Nowak, Assistant General Secretary, TUC

    Spoke of growing up and his recollections of his Uncle who came out as gay and his Uncles experience, activism and relationship within the family plus support of his wife.

    Spoke of his own school days and how name calling was exclusively sexually orientated.

    Also spoke of achievements over the years and also issues yet unresolved and requiring work, especially workplace bullying, media harassment (Lucy Meadows) and hate crimes.

    Addressed cuts affecting LGBT public services and also how Section 28 never really went away from schools where homophobia is still prevalent.

    Reported ET Tribunal Fees have resulted in a reduction of Sexual Orientation related cases by 76% and highly unlikely that this was a result of a real reduction of discrimination and harassment.

    Discussed the international situation in Russia and the need to extend support to LGBT community in Russia and in other parts of the world where our communities are oppressed.

    Gloria Del Piero MP, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities

    Spoke about the achievement of same sex marriage – yes Cameron deserves credit of sticking by it but could not have achieved it without support of Labour MPs.

    Gloria also recalled all the Equality Legislation achieved under Labour relating to LGBT communities and also the end of the ban of LGB people serving in the military (actually, that was the European Court of Human Rights which Labour tokenly opposed).

    No school should teach prejudice and homophobia, but should teach about diversity including same sex relationships.
    Tackling homophobia by sports organisations.
    Labour would appoint and International Envoy for LGBT Human Rights
    When same sex couples can walk down the street holding hands doesn't turn heads, we will be approaching equality.

    Also spoke of other issues such as abolishing the bedroom tax, extending childcare.

    From questions:

    - addressed the effect of cuts in her constituency and the importance of pushing NHS up the agenda and protecting from corporate interests.
    - Taken 40+ years and still not achieved equal pay – Labour needs to deliver
    - Labour needs to publicise working class roots of some MPs and increase their number in Parliament
    - Yorkshire delegate asked if cuts to public services would be reversed – question not answered.
    - Agreed that accountability of schools should not be from Whitehall but rather returned to locality (local authority?)

    Maria Exall, Chair of TUC LGBT

    TUC LGBT Committee has focused on increasing equal rights across the UK – want more choices with equal marriage same sex couples but also need to open civil partnerships to heterosexuals.
    Same sex survivor pensions being reviewed and TUC involved in consultations to drive forward.

    Long way to go acknowledging and progressing rights for Trans community.

    Spoke of faith based/independent schools and prevalence of trans and homophobia.

    Progress not inevitable as media focussed on battle between conservatives and UKIP, with progressive issues pushed out.

    Freedom2 pride theme, about engaging with excluded LGBT population and the issues they face. May have achieved near legislative parity, yet surveys by unions and other organisations have recently shown that homophobic and transphobic bullying and discrimination is rife. Young people are affected in families, communities and more likely to be homeless and experience mental health problems. There is also the danger of conversion therapies for the vulnerable in our communities.

    Question on Committee report re austerity cuts and lgbt communities.

    Difficulties in challenging and mobilising our communities due to a number of reasons including government perceived as lgbt friendly and our lgbt media often owned by commercial interests.

    Jide Macauley, Justice for Gay Africans

    History of persecution in the African continent. Linked to the penal colonies established in the past and also religious radicalism.

    Anti homosexual law this year in Nigeria came from radical church action in 2009, of which the current national leader is a member.

    Earlier this year gay people were attacked by mobs, marched naked through the streets and even burnt alive. Jide's house was vandalised to destruction.

    Nigerian police very corrupt and work together to penalise LGBT people.

    UK Border control know what Nigerian authorities are like but they often require evidence that can be described as pornographic to justify a claim for asylum.

    Jide's group also now includes Moslems.

    Organising across Africa – not using social media as that would jeopardise safety – but a large delegation met in Kenya this year of 150 with high levels of security and secrecy.
    Jide wants to effectively organise and document the abuses by government and their organisations against LGBT communities in society, home and workplaces.
    Midlands Delegate – what can we do to support and assist:

    - Find out more about what is happening in the continent. Can take action and petition on African's behalf but check with people on the ground. Invite delegates to committees.
    - Lesbian also face very patriarchal attitudes. Southern region of Africa is the best organised.

    ILGA is a great organisation bringing activists together, collecting information about abuses and persecution and most likely to be the first to provide updates.

    Simone Pound, Professional Football Association

    Spoke about the need for change and players coming out in professional football. About organising a support network to support players coming out so no one goes through the ordeal that Justin Fashanu experienced.

    TUC Football Alliance came together to address the challenges LGB footballers face.

    CWU speaker found that FA are very hesitant and cautious when talking about LGBT phobia, but football supporters are quite willing to engage and are more positive.

    There will be a toolkit to deal with LGBT phobia in football to be available from the TUC Football Alliance at the start of the season from the TUC, PFA and CWU websites.

    Digital Campaigning Workshop

    Speakers from UNISON and 38Degrees

    Robin Priestly (38 Degrees) has been going for 5 years, successes include saving Radio 6, NHS campaigns among many.

    'Campaigns by You' is a tool-kit for activists to use to start their own campaign as 38 degrees staff cannot cover all campaigns.

    What makes a good petition?

    - Identifying a central issue;
    - Identify a key person who can initiate the change desired so they can be petitioned;
    - Say what outcome you want;
    - Keep the process simple – don't require to many clicks or redirections to various pages;
    - Motivate the reader – inspire, embed links to further expert info in the text to lend authority.

    Funding – only through donations – no organisations regularly fund so no ties. Not for profit organisation.
    38 Degrees are a campaign organisation and take data protection seriously and therefore will not sell emails of petition signers on to commercial or other companies.

    UNISON – Campaigning and organising with social media (Alison Charlton, Communications Officer,

    Have a campaign goal and develop a strategy to get to the outcome.


    - Plan social media with on the ground activity
    - Prepare you activists and branches
    - Prepare your supporters, bloggers, press
    - Support with materials, ideas, plans
    - Publicise event/actions ahead of time
    - Conversations to keep up momentum
    - Feedback on success and thank people

    Effective content

    - A human interest story
    - Compelling quotes
    - Photo – great photo says a thousand words
    - A timely angle
    - Narrative context
    - A connection with your audience's interests
    - An action

    “Don't say anything online that you wouldn't be happy to see on a billboard with your face on”

    Avoiding the P45 tweet

    - Check your employers policy on social media, IT use and union rule book
    - Use separate accounts for personal/union workplaces
    - Restrict union accounts to union activity
    - Use to organise, not comment. Always an action.
    - Be professional. Friendly, not personal.
    - Know the law and your rights.

    These laws apply to you online

    - Defamation
    - Libel
    - Contempt of Court
    - Intellectual property/copyright
    - Data protection
    - Bullying, threatening behaviour, hate crime
    - Industrial action and election rules

    But you also have rights

    - Unfair dismissal
    - Disciplinary Procedures
    - Freedom of information
    - Right to expression

    Disclaimers mean nothing

    “These view are mine and don't represent those of my employer” is not a get out of jail free card.

    Your employer can still hold you to account for breaching code of conduct.

    David Sharkey, Unite LE Region, SERTUC LGBT, Left Front Art.

    What it is to be young & LGBT – quite a range between teenage to 32.

    Young LGBT experience higher rates of mental health & self harm.

    Important that LGBT History is taught at schools and universities to educate our own communities as well as wider society so that we can encourage our young people to get involved.

    A lot of young people are turned off by politics though they may have political opinions but don't really recognise this. We need to assist people to understand that having an opinion is political, what they wear and how they live their lives is political.

    Not enough solidarity – too much in-fighting within activist groups – also need to include heterosexuals and others in our activism.

    Young LGBT workers tend to gravitate towards stereotypical LGBT friendly issues like retail and hospitality, yet they tend to have the worst terms and conditions such as zero hours contracts.

    Young LGBT are more likely to be ask risk of homelessness.

    Need to become more active and motivated as a community to prevent erosion of rights as we see in other countries around the world.

    Mohammed Taj, President TUC & Unite EC

    First Muslim & Asian President of the TUC.

    Equality at the heart of the trade union movement and is proud that we have all fought for equality over the last 30 years, given that in the 80's and 90's there was resistance in the movement.

    More unions are taking seriously and getting involved in supporting the LGBT community at home and internationally. Spoke of iTUC in Berlin this year where LGBT issues were discussed.

    Acknowledged that there is still a long way to go for LGBT issues and concerns to be mainstreamed within the union and equality movements.

    LGBT movement has a very strong voice in Maria Exall on the TUC General Council.

    Government plays lip service to equality, keeping the label whilst removing the substance.

    Whilst he is a Muslim, he values and raises the concerns of LGBT and women in meetings & events up and down the country including in Christian and Muslim events. Trade union movement needs to stand up with LGBT and women members, support and represent their interests in the face of injustices and oppression.

    Important that we all stand up together and be counted. Looks forward to LGBT members becoming President of the TUC.

  • TUC LGBT 2014 (17th of that name)

    26-27 June 2014, Congress House Report by Adam Umney, Delegate TUC Midlands Region Paul Nowak, Assistant General Secretary, TUC Spoke of growing up and his recollections of his Uncle who came out as gay and his Uncles experience, activism and relationship within the family plus support of his wife. Spoke of his own school days and how name calling was exclusively sexually orientated. Also spoke of achievements over the years and also issues yet unresolved and requiring work, especially workplace bullying, media harassment (Lucy Meadows) and hate crimes. Addressed cuts affecting LGBT public services and also how Section 28 never really went away from schools where homophobia is still prevalent. Reported ET Tribunal Fees have resulted in a reduction of Sexual Orientation related cases by 76% and highly unlikely that this was a result of a real reduction of discrimination and harassment. Discussed the international situation in Russia and the need to extend support to LGBT community in Russia and in other parts of the world wher
  • Delegates Report - East Midlands Region LGBT RISC Committee

    Wednesday 06 June 2014
    Unite Nottingham Office, Kent Street

    1. Matters arising from previous Minutes

    National Officer for Equalities, Collette Cork-Hurst, is taking Voluntary Redundancy in July 2014.

    RLGBT Committee members want minutes of the meeting to be available soon after meetings to enable actions to be carried out and reports made to National LGBT.

    AU has been selected by Midlands TUC to be the Regions Observer at TUC LGBT 2014.

    2. TUC Midlands – World AIDs Fundraiser

    TUC LGBT Committee asked for funds from affiliates. EM F+GP only noted at their meeting.

    ACTION: RLGBT requests that all Regional Equality Committees donate £50 from their budgets to support the work of TRADE Sexual Health (a leading regional charity that works to educate and prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases/infections). Regional Equality Officer to email all Equality Chairs.

    3. Regional Equality Strategy.

    RLGBT want to see this strategy increasing the number of activists and as a way to increase accessibility to meetings, remote conferencing facilities need to be available for delegates who are geographically distant or unable to attend due to work and other constraints.

    Work is ongoing with Regional Secretary researching demographics to include in the report – will this include figures for Disabled and LGBT communities?

    RLGBT agreed that August would be a good time to reconvene the working group of Officers and Chairs to progress.

    4. Delegate Reports


    Midland TUC has held Regional Council at which AdW gave a presentation about IDAHOT Day (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) and raised the profile of LGBT and Disability Committees.

    Midland TUC LGBT Committee is due to meet in June with planning for World Aids Day on the agenda. AdW intends to give another presentation at the October TUC Regional Council regarding World Aids Day.


    A new Corby based LGBT Group is meeting in the towns Art Gallery. Fifteen people attending, four of whom identify as Trans. Group are trying to organise transport for Leicester Pride.

    New Equality Rep at Tata Steel (Scunthorpe) – Abigail. She won apprentice of the year at Tata and is very enthusiastic about her new union role.


    AU had been working on a Dignity at Work Policy for NCHA – final draft currently awaiting agreement – and following this on with an anti bullying support/advice sheet for members experiencing bullying with positive steps they can take towards reaching a positive outcome.

    ACTION: AU has agreed to write an article about action members can take should they find themselves being bullied, which will also lead into effective strategies at grievances.

    5. Equality Officers Report

    All East Midlands Women members were surveyed with 220 respondents. Follow up meetings in the region were poorly attended and subsequent ones have been postponed. The aim of the survey and meetings was to tackle under representation of women in the Union.

    Regional Equality Strategy is ready and soon to be circulated. RLGBT committee was surprised as chairs had only been involved in the initial meeting and there has been no consultation on a final draft.

    The next National Equalities conference is to be held in Eastbourne in 2015 – motion to be decided at the next RLGBT meeting.

    Unite Dignity at Work Guide has been published and is available to officers and reps.

    The issue of Unite’s Recruitment Strategy that focusses on positive actions for only BAEM community to the exclusion of others was discussed. It was agreed by the RLGBT that such a strategy appears not to have been informed by objective and thorough analysis/research into membership and employee demographics.

    ACTION 1: REO to investigate.

    ACTION 2: Chair to write to General Secretary to ask what % of Unite identifies as LGBT and where do they feature in the Unions Recruitment Strategy.

    6. National LGBT Report

    Unite is reviewing position of Pension providers with regards to Survivor Benefits to see where action is required. AF (Unite Research Officer) is gathering information from members.

    There have been improvements in the rights around surrogacy which will benefit same sex parents.

    Following the successful East Midlands motion about Unite participating in and having a presence at external public/community events to enhance equality and organising strategies, IC emailed the National Officer for LGBT and BAEM with regards to the Tolpuddle Festival some weeks ago and is yet to receive an answer.

    ACTION: REO to write to DH (Assistant General Secretary) to ascertain the unions intentions with regards to this policy and to suggest events such as WOMAD, Tolpuddle, Durham Miners Gala 2015 and other large festivals.

    7. LGBT Professional Network Group (Leicester)

    Based in the Leicester LGBT Centre, first meeting to be held in July 2014.

    Consists of local workers and small business owners.

    AdW to email dates of meetings and activists are invited to attend. Group also has a Facebook page.

    8. Hate Crime

    AdW has been following up the Regions anti hate crime motion by developing media/publicity and information resources which Unite is adopting for a National Campaign. Regional Secretary will be printing the posters for East Midland activists and National Equalities Officer will commission a web page.

    ACTION 1: AdW to develop a short survey to accompany the campaign materials.

    ACTION 2: REO to arrange for surveys to be printed for the Region.

    9. Prides

    The RLGBT agreed to discontinue using the National LGBT questionnaire, which has bee used since the merger and any benefit from feedback has long since been incorporated into existing campaigns.

    RLGBT will use the Hate Crime Survey instead and this will be one of the main campaign themes.

    The survey will have a question/tick box near the top asking the respondent if they wish to be contacted by Unite. If not, they are not invited to enter name and contact details.

    Chair thanked REO for liaising with Pellacraft and obtaining images of branded merchandise. Chair gave a few constructive comments:

    Logo bug needs to have Regional Office phone number on the fabric strip.
    The LGBT logo (inspired by Brazilian Socialist Party) needed modification to improve clarity.

    Stall to be stocked with the following items:

    • Pens, Logo bugs + wristbands – 1000 each.
    • Sweets (Haribo/Swizzels).
    • ILGA Maps (REO to investigate getting use of the canvas map)
    • Unite literature: for apprentices and young adults, Equality + Diversity and other appropriate leaflets.
    • Membership forms (inc. Community)
    • Hate Crime survey forms.
    • Stickers on a roll

    ACTION 1: Chair to edit LGBT logo for merchandise and also modify into a circular design for stickers on a roll and send to REO.

    ACTION 2: REO to order merchandise, assemble literature required and obtain stickers on a roll.

    10. Any Other Business

    National Disability Committee has submitted an amendment to Policy Motion E13.

    Next Meeting: to be confirmed.

  • Aphorisms and Interludes

    'Diversity' is the wonderful expression and variation of the human family and universe whilst 'Difference' is that which divides us.

  • Regional Committee Delegate Report, 22 January 2014


    TUC Midlands Awards


    Agreed that East Midlands Region would develop own awards programme following Midlands TUC debacle where GMB officers walked away with most of the awards. Regional Secretary has made Unite's position clearly known to Midlands TUC – that the awards should be about promoting the activity and acheivements of lay member representatives.


    Unite East Midlands Industrial Conference


    To replace the Health and Safety Conference whilst retaining a H&S element, but following feedback from reps will also include the Unite Awards for East Midlands.  To be held at the Roundhouse (Derby) towards end of October 2014.




    Debate around a rate for lower paid workers. Steve Hibbert (EC member), supported differing rates for lower and higher paid members but EC did not support. Reps from Local Authorities, Sainsburys and Housing Associations gave a broad range of examples of low paid workers and why Unite had to consider people who work part time hours and zero hour contracts all for low pay often below Living Wage levels.


    Branch (geographical) AGMs


    14000 letters sent out but very poor attendance/response rate and having to be rerun.


    East Midlands Banners


    Done and will be brought to subsequent members.


    Regional Health & Safety Committee


    Following feedback from the last Regional H&S Conference, RC propose that a RH&SC be formed comprising delegates from Area Activists to plan and lead on H&S related activity for the Region. Agreed.


    EC Report


    Policy Conference Motions deadline put back to 28 February 2014.


    Union staff now on one pension scheme, saving around £500k per year.


    EC voted to maintain union vote within the Labour Party.


    Talks with PCS (informal) ongoing, on basis of a transfer of undertakings and not a merger.



    Policy Conference Delegates


    General RC delegates – 3 elected with one stand-by. 

    2 LGBT & 2 Disabled delegates also elected.


    Presentation: Justice for Columbia


    Presented by Mariella … RC re-affiliated and agreed a donation of £2000 plus to support a fringe meeting at Policy conference.


    Motion to Policy Conference 2014


    Motion on Hate Crime: Not Just One Target, agreed by RC. This important motion deals with crimes motivated by hatred based on a particular protected characteristic (as per Equality Act 2010) or multiple characteristics.  Currently, a claim can only be made with regards to one characteristic yet often there are instances of crimes where more than one characteristic is targeted, ie the sadistic murder of Steven Simpson who was gay and had learning disabilities.


    Another motion on Conference Admin required further consideration following some pertinent comments and will have to go through a workplace branch to get to conference.


  • Youth Workers, Community and Not For Profit Industrial Sector Conference, Brighton, 14 November 2013.

    Report from Collette, National Equalities Officer


    Youth Workers service is at the sharp end of attacks on the public sector, both in terms of real threats to disestablish the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) that determines terms and conditions, and also attacks in the form of cuts to the service itself.


    Unite and its members need to fight back to protect Youth Workers who provide such an essential service for the Young People in our communities.


    James, Research Officer


    Provided a presentation on the composition of the different organisations in the YWCNFP sector, plus Trade Bodies (ie. National Housing Federation) and challenges to the sector.


    Bryn (Rep in RSPCA)


    New CEO in 2010 wanted to derecognise Unite as the first step to reducing staffing, terms and conditions, pay etc at the RSPCA.


    He used the Unite recruitment strategy to organise the workforce and he found it most effective to take the union message into peoples workplaces, especially to the younger employees.


    Des (Edinburgh Voluntary Sector Branch)


    An industrial sector branch uses organising and negotiating to achieve successes and carry campaigns.


    Suzanne (Branch Secretary, Unite Workers)


    Stressed the importance of embedding the Union within the workforce using the organising model.  Building from the member level up.


    Chris (South West RISC, Play Worker and NISC delegate)


    National Industrial Sector Committee doesn’t want to just debate the options, but rather wants workplace branches and reps to act and achieve.


    NISC wants to develop organising strategies that are sector specific to go forward.


    Chris organised the conference into small groups who identified possible strategies, some very sub sector specific.  Workshops reported back after lunch.


    Motions At Conference.


    All motions were accepted by the delegates, including the Emergency motion with regards to attacks on Local Authority Youth Services.


    The motion on Housing for the East Midlands was accepted and engendered useful debate.  The main points that came up were the commercialisation of the Housing Association Sector and also the need for Local Authorities and Housing Associations to develop new housing that is environmentally responsible and sustainable ways with features that benefit tenants.


    Hilary Benn MP


    Hilary Benn addressed the conference in the afternoon.


    Cameron uses the term ‘Trade Unionist’ as a term of abuse whilst 6.5 million people are members of trade unions.


    Cutting of Local Authority funding is falling heaviest on the most deprived communities in the country (circa 30-40%) whilst Cameron’s own Local Authority has received a small increase in funding.


    Labour will redistribute available funding more equally.


    The Bedroom Tax is immoral.  David Cameron gave the rich a 10% tax cut and yet imposed this tax on the poorest in society.


    A tax on the poorest and at current transfer rates it will take 10 years to reallocate everyone into appropriately sized housing.


    The Bedroom Tax undermines family life.


    Labour will scrap the Bedroom Tax.


    The Living Wage is becoming a feature of Labour led Local Authorities, either implementing it now or giving clear commitments to working towards it.


    Labour will address the Energy Crisis by freezing prices for almost two years whilst the sector is restructured splitting supply from retail so companies cannot dominate the market.


    Labour will review legislation around Zero Hours Contracts to remove abuses.


    Devolution throughout the UK has redistributed power to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but England remains very centralised.  England needs to be devolved and monies released from Central Government.


    Older persons are having to source care and health services from multiple different agencies.  Labour will integrate Health and Social Care into one service so older people will only need to approach one agency.


    Young people – 16 and 17 year olds – to get the vote under a Labour Government.

  • East Midlands Regional Committee Meeting (30 October 2013, Pride Park)

    Regional Committee Training


    Two day event combining Regional Committee meeting plus a day of training to be held 22-23 January 2014 at the Derbyshire Hotel. Delegates were asked to select subject areas from a list.


    Health and Safety Conference (28 October 2013, Roundhouse, Derby)


    240 delegates attended the successful conference with Mental Health identified as a major issue for both members and lay representatives.


    Regional Secretary Report


    The 100% Campaign needs to be led by delegates on the Regional Committee. To date, the RS has received no response to the email sent to delegates regarding workplace maps.


    Branch Reorganisation Report and Northampton Motion


    Northampton Branch submitted a motion that would have halted the reorganisation process by recommencing a fresh round of consultations and negotiations.  Motion was opposed and the Reorganisation Committee report was endorsed by the Regional Committee.


    The lay member led Reorganisation Committee Report endorsed the closing of existing general branches and creation of workplace branches (first instance), sectoral branches (comprising members at workplaces of less than 50 belonging to a common industry) and finally geographical branches of working or full subscription paying members who do not fit in the previous two categories.  For example in Nottinghamshire, there will be three geographical branches.


    The principle regarding the funding of new branches from the dissolved is that funding will always follow the member – it does not belong to the branch.


    From early November 2013, letters to be sent to approximately 19,000 members informing them that they have been allocated to a new branch, invited to an inaugural meeting to the new branch with the purpose of electing new branch officials.


    Executive Committee Report


    Transport Salaried Staff Association is no longer going to join Unite, however both unions expressed needs to work closely together.


    Talks with PCS are at an exploratory stage.


    The EC will be holding a special meeting in March 2014 with regards to funding the Labour Party, in the light of events in Falkirk.


    EC elections are to take place in 2014 and will include proportionality in some regions (North West and London & Eastern definitely). A point raised but not discussed that there is a 25% minimum requirement for female candidates plus Women reserved seats – should the latter be dropped?  Also a proportionality requirement for BAEM by Rule, but Disability, Young Members and LGBT have not been addressed.


    Also noted that members in arrears can only have their voting rights withdrawn if the Union has written to them informing them of the situation, following a case with the Certification Officer.


    Delegates to the CSEU are still fending off some Union interests who want their share of the £21 million.  Steve reported that he and other delegates see this as members money that was raised for the purpose of a campaign for a statutory 35 hour week.


    Regional Coordinating Officers Report


    There are some 100% Campaigns that have stalled and need reinvigorating.


    There are still organising opportunities within some large organisations with recognition agreements and with their subcontractors.


    Other items


    RC agreed to donate £500 to Hazards 2014 conference and to fund two RC delegates.


    RC also agreed to donate £250 to Hope Not Hate, £50 to Trade Unions for Disability Action (TUDA) and £75 to Union Solidarity International.


    Arriva has donated a bus to Unite, which will require refitting.  Launch to take place circa March 2014 and branches can make donations towards refurbishments (see Regional Secretary).


    In response to the Senior Organising Officers poor comment regarding lack of support from the Committee at a vehicle show in Newark, this EM delegate for Youth Workers Community and Not for Profit workers and Chair of the Regional LGBT reminded the RC that they asked for volunteers and had support from two additional reps from E-on.  Also noted that the Unite Organising Officers had not supported any of the three Prides (Nottingham, Leicester, Lincoln) and expressed disappointment that they had missed an opportunity to organise at such large and high profile events.



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