Lack of Visibility of Black Members: Attendace at UNISON’s Conferences

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2006 National Black Members' Conference
25 September 2005
Carried as Amended

The North West Regional Black Members’ Group are concerned at the low and decreasing numbers of Black Members attending UNISON’s Conferences.

It was noted in 2005 that the numbers of Black Members who attended; Women’s’ Conference, Health Conference, Local Government Conference, National Delegate Conference and all the Service Group Conferences held this year was significantly down and lower than previous years.

We believe that cuts in regional budgets has resulted in some black members groups receiving lower budgets than those of other SOGs and this plays a large part in this issue. Unless the groups are properly financed attendance at UNISON’s Conference will continue to decline.

Conference notes that the National Executive Council introduced a standard fair representation monitoring form for use at all national and regional committees and conferences and this is an important part of our strategy to achieve proportionality and fair representation throughout the union.

Conference also notes with great concern, that when questioned about compliance with fair representation and proportionality, senior officers or our union have restored by applying the male/ female gender argument, and by doing so they have missed the new point of self organisation that is the reflective element and by that we mean the visible aspect for those members, to be seen at the conference.

We want to facilitate an increased level of black members attending all of the national conferences in UNISON each year.

We call upon the National Black Members’ Committee to liaise with the NEC/ SGEs to:

1. Includes a summary report on proportionality and fair representation in UNISON at local, regional and national level in its annual report.

2.Audit, monitor and publish the attendance figures of Black Members at future UNISON Conferences;

3.Send a circular out to Branches reminding them of UNISON’s rules and commitment to fair representation;

4. Ensure that regions adequately finance regional black members groups in order to support the groups to organise and develop properly.

5.Look at developing a mechanism and/or formula that ensures all the Self Organised Groups are fairly represented. This could include a rolling programme.

6. work with regional black members’ groups, regional secretaries and regional councils to raise the need to ensure all branch and regional delegations are devised on the basis of proportionality and fair representation, which should ideally include at least one black member amongst the delegation;

7. request from the conference section a list of branches and regional delegations that do not demonstrate action to implement point 4 above;

8. identify increased levels of funding through the relevant funding stream for branches where they can evidence lack of funds is a barrier to black member participation in national conferences.