Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Council

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2003 National Lesbian & Gay Conference
1 August 2003

Conference notes that:

1. in 2001 the Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Council was enlarged to include three new sections, H, I and J, each consisting of one seat and representing, respectively, trade unionists with disabilities, lesbian and gay trade unionists and trade unionists under 27 years of age. In 2002 bisexual and transgender trade unionists were added to the definition of Section I;

2. each affiliated union may make one nomination for each of the three seats which are filled by election at congress;

3. in 2001 and 2002 three unions which between them cast about 42% of the congress vote (one of them UNISON) agreed they would each make a nomination for only one of the three seats and vote for each other’s candidates in any election;

4. within UNISON, the National Executive Council (NEC) failed to consult the relevant self-organised group national committees or the National Young Members’ Forum before making this arrangement. Even though they gave an assurance that the arrangement was for one year only, in fact, it continued for a second year again without consultation;


5. this year the TUC has reviewed constitutional matters relating to equality. UNISON was consulted but its response was silent on the election of the General Council even though the view of this Conference was that any review should give due weight to the views of the TUC Equality conferences and committees. The TUC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Conference’s view is that the Section I seat should be filled by election at the LGBT Conference rather than at congress.

Conference deplores UNISON’s arrangement with the two other unions since:

A. it thwarts the TUC’s intention to grant representation to these groups of trade unionists;

B. they have no say in who their representatives are to be;

C. the representatives are not accountable to them but to the nominating union;

D. it turns the election at congress into a farce since its outcome is a foregone conclusion;


E. all three unions have used the opportunity to add to the numbers of the most over-represented group on the General Council – men.

Conference calls on the NEC to withdraw from its arrangement with the other two unions at least as far a Section I is concerned.

Conference calls upon UNISON delegations to future congresses to cast their vote in Section I based upon candidates’ merits and to seek the advice of the National Lesbian and Gay Committee (NLGC) how to do so.

Conference instructs the NLGC to campaign for changes to the TUC constitution to provide for:

I. enlarging Sections H, I and J to two seats each to provide gender balance;


II. the direct election of the General Council members in these sections by the union’s delegates to the respective equality conferences.