An Organising Response to the Result of the 2015 G

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2015 National Delegate Conference
1 January 2015

Conference notes the unanticipated outcome of the 2015 General Election which produced a majority Conservative Government.

The new Government is set to intensify austerity in the public sector and increase privatisation and outsourcing of public services.

The Conservatives also explicitly targeted the right of workers to organise by including the following commitments in their manifesto:

1) Legislation to “ensure trade unions use a transparent opt-in process for union subscription;”

2) A commitment to “tighten the rules around taxpayer-funded paid ‘facility time’ for union representatives.”

Conference believes that the attack on workers’ right to organise is intended to weaken workers ability to oppose further cuts and privatisation and the consequent reduction in jobs, pay and conditions.

However, we must also prepare ourselves to face this challenge from the Conservative Government with an organising response. This will require, above all, a focus on building membership and density in our branches, supported by UNISON at every level.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council to launch the strongest possible public campaign to expose the ideological anti trade union attack aimed at undermining trade unions throughout public services to the point of seeking to make DOCAS contracts fully paid for by unions unlawful.

UNISON must make this a major campaign which reflects the very real threat to the future of UNISON should the Tories succeed in removing DOCAS throughout public services.

Conference recognises that should the union lose the fight there would be no option other than moving entirely to Direct Debit.

Conference recognises that persuading members to transfer their subscriptions to direct debit, and subsequently ensuring that we maintain the information we need to organise, will require face to face conversations by our activists with our members.

Work has already begun on a strategy for dealing with the reduction in facility time for our already hard pressed activists. This work becomes even more urgent as we face the threat of more facility time being removed.

Conference therefore calls upon the National Executive Council:

a) to lead a determined campaign to defend our DOCAS arrangements involving all members, other trade unions, political parties, employers and the wider public to defend the future of public service trade unions;

b) To develop and implement measures to ensure that we can maintain accurate records of members’ employers;

c) To revise the Code of Good Branch Practice to provide guidance to branches and shop stewards on how to ensure that members paying by direct debit pay the appropriate rate of subscription;

d) To put in place as a matter of the utmost urgency a whole union strategy and the allocation of resources so as to ensure that all members paying by DOCAS are retained in membership through any transfer on to DD;

e) To review what can be done to ensure that activists have sufficient facilities, support and resources to ensure that they can adequately represent their members.

Conference further recognises that this organising response requires lay member buy in and prioritisation throughout UNISON. Conference therefore calls upon the National Executive Council to ensure that this work receives the support and priority it requires at all levels within UNISON.