Sunday, 7 December 2008

Lambeth UNISON AGM time and venue

Dear all

I've recently received the notification for the AGM: 1:00pm, 13 January 2009, Town Hall. I'm sure the reason for this is to try and maximise attendance from Unison members in core services and functions.

However, it is very bad for others: for example, support staff in schools, many of whom cannot get paid time off and are pretty low paid. I will try to get there, but I think most members will not. Not only is this bad for branch democracy, it sends out a signal that the branch is only really interested in those core, mainly white collar sections.

When I was branch secretary at Companies House, Cardiff, we recruited the evening shift: mainly low paid women, who worked 6-midnight. So we held two AGMs, afternoon and evening. This had drawbacks: not everyone could hear all the arguments during contentious debates, for example. But it worked in keeping everyone feeling they were a valued part of the branch.

What can we do? Are there others in the same position?

Jeremy Drinkall
Learning Support Assistant
Lilian Baylis

1 comment:

DANJ said...

I think Jeremy raises some valid points. And two AGMs is one alternative. However a problem with this is that we struggle to get a quorum (is that how you spell it?!), for one AGM, so this might make it even harder.

Also I would add that there are many blue collar workers in the council (caretakers, handypersons etc) who would find it easier to get to a day time meeting. However you could well be right that a day time AGM is a disproportionate disadvantage for low paid workers.

I am also concerned that not all stewards are being told about and encouraged to come to branch committee. And that members are not aware that they can come to BCs as observers (with speaking rights).

Lastly I saw that UNISON density in schools in Lambeth is running at 5%!!! Which obviously is appalling.

Jeremy why don't you email Jon and Nick about your concerns and also we can raise it at branch committee.