News from Prospect's NEC: 2006 meetings
Key points from the committee's meeting on 14 December 2006 were:
- Resource director David Pelly reported on progress in the fit out of the union's new HQ. Prospect is on schedule to move this month, with the FDA moving into the 4th and 5th floors as tenants in February. Moves were underway to choose a preferred catering provider and security arrangements were discussed
- Assistant general secretary Dai Hudd reported on recruitment figures and the successful outcome of statutory recognition ballots at the National Maritime Museum and Rocksavage Power Station
- Income and expenditure projections and draft budgets for 2007 to 2009 were agreed.
- A circular had been sent out that day on the election for the president, vice-president and deputy vice-president of Prospect.
- Dai Hudd reported good progress on civil service pensions. But on pay many civil service branches had rejected 2006 pay offers, and action on this was planned in the new year.
- The NEC endorsed Prospect's full participation in the TUC's public services rally and lobby of Parliament on 23 January.
- Draft recommendations from Prospect's Race Review Group were endorsed (see above). A motion and delegates to the 2007 Women's TUC were agreed.
- Sponsorship of a War on Want project highlighting health and safety concerns for flower workers in Colombia was agreed.
- The meeting welcomed the Prospect publication, New Nuclear Build, reporting on a key seminar held on 3 October 2006, at the Royal Society.
Key points from the committee's meeting in November 2006 were:
- The date for an extended NEC meeting to consider strategic issues alongside normal business will be March 21-22, 2007.
- Good progress is being made on the new HQ building. Work is in hand to resolve last-minute issues relating to practical completion by Costain. A fit-out programme will then be carried out to enable occupation in January.
- On recruitment, there was a net increase in membership in September although the number of leavers needs addressing. The ballot on transferring staff from the Audit Commission Staff Association to Prospect (see September) was successful. A successful recognition ballot has been held in Rocksavage Power. A statutory recognition ballot will take place later this month in the National Maritime Museum.
- Discussions have been held in Prospect's Civil Service and EMA sectors and the Science, Engineering and Technology group about revisions to their rules and conferences in 2007. A successful first meeting was held of a newly formed Nuclear Decommissioning Working Group and a further meeting of the recently-formed Defence, Maritime and Logistics Group.
- Prospect's third quarter income and expenditure statement was presented to the NEC. It showed better than forecast figures, mainly because of investment returns and lower expenditure than predicted.
- Contingent authority was given to the presidential team to approve an industrial action ballot in the Ministry of Defence over pay and relocation if necessary.
- The NEC expressed its regret at the news that Prospect vice-president Robbie Ridoutt will retire from the civil service in May 2007, so will stand down as an officer and an NEC member.
Key points from the committee’s meeting on 28 September were:
- The provisional date for the move to the union's new headquarters building is over the weekend of 20/21 January 2007. We may, however, bring this forward to the previous weekend if this is possible. After due consideration, the NEC decided that we should name the building New Prospect House.
- A ballot is now taking place amongst members of the Audit Commission Staff Association to join Prospect. If successful, around 700 new members will transfer from AXA to Prospect, giving us a stronger basis to recruit in the Audit Commission. The terms of the transfer were agreed.
- The NEC agreed to contribute £1,000 to the Emergency Appeal by the TUC in respect of the trade unionists in Zimbabwe who have been assaulted and imprisoned. The money will be used towards legal and medical assistance.
- Industrial action ballots were endorsed in a number of employment areas.
- The NEC agreed that Prospect should become a member of the Coalition for Medical Progress.
- An extended NEC meeting may be held in the new headquarters, to discuss strategic issues facing the union. This may coincide with a formal opening ceremony for the new building.
Key points from the 27 July meeting were:
- Lay members were appointed to the NEC advisory sub-committees.
- A new Prospect membership card will be issued for 2007.
- A discussion was held on ways to boost recruitment, including proposals to develop links with students likely to enter professions where Prospect is recognised.
- The NEC heard that the Civil Service and EMA sectors both intend to hold special conferences in 2007 to consider rule changes, which among other things would decouple the sector conferences from the national conference.
- Reports were given on a number of TUC-related issues, including:
- the public service unions’ rally in June
- meetings with Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown covering public services and the energy review
- arrangements for the TUC Congress in September, including Prospect’s delegation, which comprises: NEC members Graeme Henderson, Catherine Donaldson, Robbie Ridoutt, Nigel Titchen and Craig Marshall; Prospect reps Samantha Smith (Ordnance Survey), Irene Danks (National Library of Scotland), Penny Witham (Office for National Statistics) and youth delegate Aimee Kentish (BNFL Magnox). General secretary Paul Noon, assistant general secretary Dai Hudd, head of research Sue Ferns, national secretary Geraldine O’Connell, and negotiator Emily Boase will also attend from Prospect staff
- the committee endorsed a TUC statement on the current conflict in the Middle East.
- The NEC gave its support to a number of branches involved in disputes, involving relocation at the Office for National Statistics, pay at Ordnance Survey and pensions at British Nuclear Fuels. The committee endorsed a ballot for industrial action short of a strike in the Ministry of Defence on relocation of members.
- The financial position at the end of the second quarter was noted. The committee reaffirmed its decision to introduce the lower subscriptions cap of £250, where applicable, for members in the EMA sector from 1 January 2007.
- A report was given on progress towards the completion of the new HQ. Work is ahead of schedule, and once completed the new building will be fitted out by CDG Management. The old building will be vacated by 31 January 2007. Tenants have been found for two floors in the new building.
- Action was agreed on resolutions and remitted motions from the 2006 national conference. A revised document will be published on the website. A wash-up meeting will review the running of the conference.
- The NEC decided not to merge the Recruitment Organisation and Members Services Advisory Committee with the Member Education and Development Committee, but to ask the committees to look at overlapping issues of education and organisation and report back to the NEC.
- The meeting highlighted the importance of reversing the current downward trend in membership, occurring despite new recruitment in many areas.
- NEC members voiced their willingness to assist in recruitment and other campaigns as part of measures to raise the committee’s profile.
- Prospect’s motions for the TUC in September will be on the health service and science. The composition of Prospect’s delegation was decided.
- A members’ complaints procedure was agreed.
- Prospect decided to support a joint-union public services lobby of parliament on 27 June.
- The composition of NEC members on its sub-committees was agreed. Branches have been invited to nominate lay representatives to committees.
- A way ahead was agreed on Prospect’s structure below the NEC. There will be discussions with the officers of the civil service and EMA sectors and the science, engineering and technology group. The SET group is likely to continue, but with an increased focus on science and environmental issues.
- Resource director David Pelly reported that the project to construct the new Prospect headquarters at 8 Leake Street is on time and on budget. But time will be needed for fit-out once the building is handed over to Prospect towards the end of the year.
- Reports were given on a number of industrial disputes, and authority for strike action in Ordnance Survey approved.