Root and Branch

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2014 Water, Environment & Transport Service Group
25 February 2014

With a static or decreasing number of members in our branches we need to review how we organise within the Water, Environment and Transport Service Group (WET). As moves are made to change our branches we need to find a structure that suits us before one is imposed.

There seems to be a coordinated effort to reduce the number of branches in Regions by targeting branches with small numbers of members and merging them with large branches. Although this is always denied when the leaders of the union are questioned about it the reality is that branches across Regions, particularly transport branches, are having pressure put on them by their Regional Officers to consider alternatives.

We have to face the facts, as employers remove jobs from their structures and as people are having to make their wages stretch further we are unlikely to dramatically increase membership in the near future. So we need to consider how we organise to best serve the members we have.

At the root of UNISON is member participation. Any solution needs to protect the right of members to engage with the union at regional and national levels. Being subsumed into large branches from a different service group is going to reduce the opportunity for issues in our industries being debated across the union.

The matter is becoming urgent. We cannot wait for a review of structures across the service groups. We need alternatives now.

We call on the Water, Environment and Transport Executive to:

i) Consider alternative ways of organising within WET and present them at the WET Branch Seminar for discussion.

ii) Work with the NEC on any review of structures to ensure small branches are considered.

iii) Support any WET branches who are resisting changes to their structure..