2023-08-25 10:28

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CWU Re-Design Regional Forums Announced - Will Branches Raise Future Of Health & Safety?

Today's (16th August) announcement of the dates for the final of only two branch consultations scheduled follows the NEC having agreed their policy document for the special Conference on Re-Design in November.

Details were contained in LTB466 sent to all CWU Branches.

There was also notification of those eligible to attend the meeting as follows:

"Entitlement to attend the Briefing is on the basis of two representatives per Branch, Senior Field Officials, National Team members, NEC and Industrial Executive members."

The SOC are yet to publicise their report for the conference which will determine the timetabling of the debates and format although it is expected as per the Rule Book that this will follow that of General Conference.

It is expected that the motions accepted for debate at the special conference though will be based on the same format as the original Re-Design Questionnaire - based solely on the subject matter of the Re-Design policy documents of the NEC, covering the following:

  • NEC structures
  • Regions
  • Branches
  • Conferences
  • Equality
  • Training, Education and Learning. With regard to the Industrial Executives, further discussions will continue.

This will mean absolutely no motions about the future of Health & Safety Structures in the CWU following Re-Design will be accepted for debate!

But will the issues concerning the future of Health & Safety be raised at the now scheduled Regional Forum Meetings due to take place in September?

Most commentators feel this is very unlikely given no USR/ASR officers will be in attendance and that at the previous Regional Forum Meetings, not one question was asked about the future of Health & Safety structures in the CWU.

Yet, despite CWU HQ insisting that there is no truth in the 'rumour' of the plan to get rid of the Health and Safety Dept which has only a budget of £19,000 for the year 2018/19 by merging it with another department and doing away also with the current regional health and safety forums; Branches are not being told a single thing about future plans and it seems that quietly 'behind the scenes' the unannounced 'template for CWU HQ Re-Design' is being implemented, even against national Officer's wills in some cases.

It seems likely that as with the 'retirement' of the Officer concerned, so will be the 'retirement' of the department they head. After all, this way, no discussion with the membership needs to take place? A precedent for this of course has already been set with the head of the Equality Dept having not been replaced and the comments regarding the issue of Equality in the Re-Design document to Branches issued following conference.

Branches should be asking at least these six questions about the future of Health & Safety in the CWU:

1. Who is going to lead on health and safety with our employers; do the H&S specific research, co-ordinate and promote Health & Safety campaigns, represent the CWU on the TUC's Health and Safety Committee, and interface with other Unions and organisations; after we have ditched the expertise and the dedicated department?

2. USRs and our members will want to know how merging the Health & Safety Dept and getting rid of regional health & safety structures will not damage the Union's ability to promote and lead on H&S issues, and to "Punch well above it's weight". Who will provide such information to them?

3. Will Branch's and national occupational officers keep up with current H&S legislation, and existing national health & Safety agreements with our employers and ensure it is part of local and national negotiations?

4. How will new and advanced health & safety agreements be negotiated with CWU member's employers?

5. Will merging the H&S Dept with Legal and Medical Dept make the CWU stronger and better resourced on protecting and promoting the health and safety of our members working environments not to mention providing the Union with the resources to deal with the political attacks on worker's rights most of which are health and safety matters rather than occupational; which will follow Brexit and the onslaught from the Tories?

6. Will Industrial Relations National and Branch Officers take up Health & Safety and provide the same level of resources and commitment to the issues, have the required expertise and understanding of H&S Legislation and CWU/Employer national agreements?

By not doing so, they may well be inadvertently allowing themselves to be accused of having no interest in the Union's future health and safety resourcing and structures or seeing the need to prioritise such issues which will be under immense attacks and in so much need when it comes to Brexit and the future of worker's rights.

Source: unionsafety / cwu

See also: Fears That Health And Safety Forums And Issues Will Be Blocked From Re-Design Conference

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