Saturday, July 7, 2007

Labour Link Forum

I've just got back home after UNISON's Labour Link Forum, where I was a delegate on behalf of the National Young Members Forum.

We were supposed start off with Hilary Benn as our Key note speaker, but unfortunately as the new Environment Secretary (and Sheffield MP) he was busy dealing with the devastating floods across Yorkshire. We had the last minute replacement of Hazel Blears, who is now in a key position for UNISON as Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities.
Hazel also has ties with UNISON having been a branch secretary and chair in NALGO, one of our founding unions. She said some good things about listening to staff and always comes across as a decent politician when you see her in person (though we obviously have some significant political differences). On equal pay she was clearly overwhelmed by the underfunding of single status for local government, I hope that she will be able to tackle this issue which is so vital for our local government members.
I moved a motion which the National Young Members Forum had submitted on Young People and Labour. The motion sets out UNISON's support for reforming Young Labour and the key principles that this reform should take; UNISON's continued support for Young Labour and Labour Students (with the possibility of funding a full time Youth Officer for the Labour Party); and a commitment for Labour Link to work with UNISON's Young Members Forums to engage more of our young members in Labour Link and the Labour Party. I am glad to say that this passed unanimously and I look forward to working with Labour Link and young APF levy payers on delivering this policy.

It was a good event, with a relaxed atmosphere which meant it was easy to get to know other delegates. It was disappointing that there were not many young members there, with just our current NYMF chair Anne True the only young member there as a voting delegate. Hopefully the work on engaging young members in Labour Link will mean that this improves in future years.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

1st NEC meeting

So on Friday I attended my 1st meeting of the NEC, the 1st of the 07-09 NEC. (I'm afraid I haven't had time to blog as soon as I'd like, but I've been working fairly constantly since).

It occurred directly at the close of Conference (which had the unfortunate consequence of not being able to go for a drink with other young members). The meeting was simply to deal with the elections of the President and Vice Presidents. It started off with Dave Prentis (General Secretary) in the Chair until the election of the new President. The Presidential election then took place, with Norma Stevenson elected unopposed. There was then a contested election for the two vice presidents with Sue Highton and Gerry Gallagher elected.

The task for me at the moment is considering my choices for NEC Committees. With the NEC having over 60 members the real work is done in these committees, so which ones you're on is incredibly important. My big decision is over Policy Development and Campaigns Committee or Development & Organising Committee

Policy Development and Campaigns Committee is the committee which deals with the unions external facing policy work and campaigning. Having campaigned in my election about putting young members views at the heart of our campaigning work this would be an important committee to take that forward.

Development and Organising Committee on the other hand deals with internal issues such as rules and how we organise our members. This is the committee were I could take take forward the issues I campaigned on around developing and supporting young activists.

It's definitely a dilemma, as you can only go on one of these big committees. And what I ask for still isn't necessarily what I'll get.