2023-08-25 10:28

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

The apparent silencing of CWU Unionsafety Reps and of the Health & Safety Forums, is a serious fear of the CWU Health and Safety Community as despite the norm being for all special conferences to be run in the same way as General Conference, the lack of clarity over the format and standing orders along with the size of branch delegations; is ominous in the view of many.

With today's Letter (13th June) to Branches on Re-Design (LTB343/18) stating that the decisions over such issues are 'on-going' fears are growing that the fate of the Health & Safety Dept and Regional Health & Safety Structures will be decided purely by Branch Industrial Relations officers at the conference.

With a limit to the number of motions that can be submitted and to the size of Branch Delegations, the vast majority of Branch's won't cover Health and Safety as was the case with the Re-Design consultation document.

In April, the Re-Design Session at General Conference only once mentioned Health & Safety, and that was in a passing comment by CWU's General Secretary. It seems that with the total silence ever since; the writing is clearly on the wall in the opinion of many within the CWU Health and Safety Community.


In his speech the General Secretary made it clear that he did not feel it correct for people within the Union to feel that Re-Design was being used to attack individuals or groups within the CWU. Whilst he did not name the Union's health and safety commuinity, such comments were made when referring to Health and Safety.

So, the question has to be asked, why does CWU's health and safety community feel this way?

Surely the responsibility for this is with CWU HQ whose way of dealing with the questions around health and safety is to treat the health and safety community within the CWU with contempt. Leaving the issues of health and safety, it's culture, structures and resources completely absent from any documentation on Re-Design and sidelining the Department Head from the Health and Safety motions at this year's Annual Conference?

Worse still, the concern is that when it comes to policy motions from the NEC regarding re-design, a catch-all motion encompassing several elements of Re-Design and including the ending of an independent Health & Safety dept will be put to conference; with a "take the lot or leave it all" condition attached allowing for absolutely no debate on the shape and form of the Union's Health & Safety culture and structures, or on any specific component of the motion.

By coupling palatable and generally accepted elements of Re-Design with contentious issues such as abolition of a Regional Health & Safety Committees, the stand-alone Health and Safety Dept and it's National Officer; and not allowing each element to be debated and carried or rejected; CWU HQ could be seen as utilising Tory tactics in Parliament employed to sidestep any opposition to their proposed legislation.

The issuing of today's (13th June) Letter To Branches on Re-Design (LTB343/18) once again makes absolutely no mention of Health and Safety and adds fuel to the fire of opinion regarding the future of Health & Safety within the CWU, given this para from the LTB:

The Publication of Future Policy Papers

The process outlined above and the output of the consultation will help the NEC produce a series of proactive policy papers, that taken together, will shape key elements of the Redesign Project and will enable Branches to have a clear understanding of what the union could look like in the future. These papers will be published to Branches in advance of the Special Conference in November and will cover the following areas.

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

Source: CWU / unionsafety /CWU H&S Community

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