Black Members Representation at UNISON Conferences

Back to all Motions

2013 National Black Members' Conference
18 September 2012
Carried as Amended

Conference is concerned about the lack of visibility and representation of Black members at the National Delegate Conference and Service Group Conferences.

Each year delegates and visitors are required to complete the proportionality and fair representation forms at conference. However, the information does not appear to filter down to regions and branches with regards to the importance of Black representation at National and Service Group Conferences.

Various researches including UNISON’s research on the effects of the austerity measures on Black workers in 2012 have found that the budget cutbacks are having a disproportionate impact on Black members. Never has it been more important to ensure Black members are at the heart of helping to steer our union in a direction to ensure protection and representation for all.

Patterns of behaviour by branches are a real concern to Black members as we are clear that UNISON priority is to ensure that all of our work and resources are aimed at meeting the challenge of the governments pledge to massive cuts to public spending and an ideological commitment to cutting back the state.

Black members have a vital role to play and can only achieve this if they are organising along side colleagues and comrades in all structures of UNISON.

Conference calls on the National Black Members’ Committee to work with the NEC:

1)To seek to ensure that branches and regions include Black representation in their delegations to UNISON national conferences specifically National Delegate Conference, Service Group and SOG Conferences by:

2)Reviewing the system of registration using the Online Conference System (OCS) and seek to ensure that it is equipped with the mechanism to make sure branches include Black member(s) in their delegation in the same way as proportionality is a requirement and in compliance with the union rule provision in 2.12.3 on Fair Representation.

3)Including a re-commitment of best practice in the review of self-organisation and to adhere to the Code of Good Branch Practice in supporting regions and branches in this process by giving guidance and clarity on this requirement.

4)To seek to ensure by a system of monitoring and evaluation of OCS across the branches, that OCS is not used as a tool to inhibit democracy by altering the choice of status of attendance at conference, as has been brought to our attention..

Additionally, in the respect of disability that OCS when managed by branches does not discourage members from applying to attend, by the use of intrusive and personal questions about the “extra’s required” which in accordance with NEC guidance, UNISON willingly provides to assist participation of a maximum number of members to conference.