News from Prospect's NEC: 2007 meetings
Among its business the committee discussed the following:
- Prospect had recruited 7,219 new members by the end of November, which was a record. But job losses in some Prospect employment areas meant that total membership had not grown as we would like.
- The Association of Guernsey Civil Servants had voted heavily in favour of joining Prospect. Their membership, which is over 1,000, will become part of Prospect with effect from January 1, 2008. Staff in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority had also voted in favour of representation by Prospect rather than a staff council.
- Prospect's strategic objectives were broadly endorsed but would be put back to the NEC in 2008 when more work had been done on the underlying membership position.
- Draft forecasts of Prospect income and expenditure for 2008-10 were agreed.
- Conference motions will be drafted for submission to the 2008 conference on subscriptions and a range of policy and organisational issues.
- A report was given on the review of the union's policy in respect of assets and reserves and the work being done with Prospect's auditors on this, with the intention of arriving at clear and defined policy in the first half of 2008.
- Donations were agreed to the National Pensioners Convention and the Scottish Pensioners Convention of £2,000 and £250 respectively. The state pension was introduced following pressure from the trade union movement at the beginning of the 20th century, and celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2008.
- Updates were given on potential industrial action in Defra, Government Offices, Civil Nuclear Constabulary, British Airports Authority, National Museum of Science and Industry, Forensic Science Service, EDF Customer Fields Services and the Highways Agency, and on the ongoing action in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The NEC welcomed progress to resolve disputes at Serco Denholm, Cottam Power Station and EDF Customers and Business Information & Technology.
As well as the normal NEC business (listed below) the meeting held more informal discussions on the way forward for Prospect. Speakers painted a positive picture of progress over the past two years and the committee heard a presentation on the union's strategic and operational objectives from assistant general secretary Mike Clancy.
Following the weekend's discussions, papers are being prepared on several key issues, including expanding and listening to Prospect's representative base, the union's appeal to young workers, the NEC's strategic role and the information and consultation regulations.
In addition the meeting covered the following business:
- successful recruitment numbers for October were welcomed. There were recognition successes at Land Instruments and Universities UK. Members of the Association of Guernsey Civil Servants were due to be balloted on a transfer of engagements to Prospect
- new appointments to Prospect were announced. Jill Wood moves from Equity to become negotiations officer in the Liverpool office and Sarah Page moves from the Health and Safety Commission to become Prospect's health and safety officer from the start of 2008
- the committee saw the income and expenditure statement for the third quarter of 2007 and draft estimates for 2008-10
- a formal tax inspection by HM Revenue and Customs was successfully concluded in September. Staff and reps were reminded to continue to submit receipts to support any expenses claims, and to do so in good time
- a report was given on Prospect's work with Show Racism The Red Card. Manchester United and Liverpool team posters are available for collection from Central Services, and more team posters will be available soon.
- approval was given for branches to ballot on industrial action in Defra, Civil Nuclear Constabulary branch
- the NEC approved a £500 donation to Crisis at Christmas and £250 to Southwark Age Concern, in line with Prospect's good neighbour policy.
Among its business the committee discussed the following:
- The improved recruitment figures for the last three months were welcomed.
- A young members' seminar is planned for early next year.
- The NEC noted the success of Prospect's bid, under the Union Modernisation Fund, to develop equality representatives in the Ministry of Defence - the union will receive £103,000 for the project.
- Reports were given on industrial disputes in a wide range of areas including Devonport Dockyard, National Museums Liverpool, Rosyth Dockyard and the Ministry of Defence. Agreement was given to ballot on strike action and action short of a strike in the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and London Waste.
- A number of donations and appeals were agreed, including £2,000 sponsorship to Show Racism the Red Card and £200 subscription to Zero Tolerance Charitable Trust.
- The NEC noted that a cheque would be sent to Oxfam for more than £28,000, for money collected under the IPMS Third World Trust up to end of March 2007.
- Proposals for new subscription rates from 1 January 2008 were agreed.
- An overview was provided into the state of play in the 2007 civil service pay round in the light of the Treasury's tight grip on pay remits.
- Progress with the Electronic Information System project was noted and agreed.
- A presentation was given by Linda Sohawon, Marion Scovell, Helen Hall and Paula Mitchell on Prospect's legal services. The NEC thanked colleagues for their effective work in this area.
- The general secretary reported on the TUC delegation's effective contributions to this year's Congress, including interventions in six debates and at several fringe meetings.
- The agenda and timetable for a residential NEC in November were agreed.
- Dates for NEC meetings in 2008 were agreed.
- welcomed improved recruitment results and stressed that smaller branches which had recruited well deserved recognition
- welcomed new NEC member Del Northcott to the meeting
- heard a report from resources director David Pelly on property issues and agreed to publicise the later-opening trial of the HQ café in July and September
- heard a report on the civil service, energy supply industry sector and SET group conferences. Consideration is being given to arrangements for a civil service sector conference in 2008
- considered the draft, interim Action Taken on resolutions and remitted motions from the 2006 national conference. This will appear on the website in due course
- heard that following legal advice, the NEC proposed to change the retirement age of the general secretary from 60 to 65, in line with that for the rest of the staff. A ballot is due on the post of general secretary in October 2008. Paul Noon confirmed his intention to stand for re-election
- heard that Prospect's income for the first half of the year was 49 per cent of the estimate, and expenditure 49.3 per cent
- congratulated those responsible for Prospect's success in winning two prizes at this year's TUC press and PR awards
- received reports of disputes at UKAEA, Rosyth Dockyard, Devonport Dockyard, National Museums Liverpool, National Physical Laboratory and several other areas, and gave approval for industrial action and ballots as appropriate.
- congratulations were given to the successful candidates in the presidential team election: president Graeme Henderson, vice-president Catherine Donaldson and deputy vice-president Nigel Titchen
- outgoing vice-president Robbie Ridoutt was presented with the Distinguished Members Award. Del Northcott (Devonport Management Ltd) will replace him on the NEC
- resources director David Pelly reported on New Prospect House. To improve mingling opportunities, the second-floor cafe will remain open after 4pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for a trial period in June and July
- general secretary Paul Noon reported progress in recruitment: 3,127 new members joined Prospect from January-April, with total membership up by 814 since the start of the year, thanks to branch campaigns and recognition in new areas
- a residential NEC meeting will be held in November, focusing on the strategic direction of Prospect, the role of the NEC and developing lay reps
- an update was given on the latest income and expenditure figures, subscriptions and staff pensions and financial estimates for the years 2007-2010 were approved
- authority was given to Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh; National Libraries of Scotland; National Galleries of Scotland; National Museums Liverpool; DML and BNG Reactor Sites to ballot for strike or action short of a strike over pay.
- motions will be submitted to TUC Congress in September on climate change and public services. Branch-nominated delegates will be: Russell Brown (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Gayle Whitby (British Library), Liz Turney (Hydrographic Office), Gary Moore (British Energy North), Paul Shawcross (British Nuclear Fuels), Geoff Fletcher (Health and Safety Executive). They will join NEC members and full-time officers in a 15-strong delegation
- presentations were given by David Pelly and Simon Parry on the Electronic Information Systems project, by Rachel Bennett on externally funded learning and organisation projects, and Beverley Hall on Prospect's international corporate social responsibility project.
- welcomed the successful completion of New Prospect House and the move into the new London headquarters, and thanked resources director David Pelly and colleagues for delivering the project to time and budget
- decided to provide buffets for members and reps attending meetings at New Prospect House. Where no buffet is provided, to replace the old voucher system for those eating in Prospect's café with a facility for individual members to claim lunch expenses through their branch, up to the value of £4.75
- welcomed the success of the New Prospect House launch event on March 21, attended by the NEC, national secretaries, the professional team who worked on the building, staff and guests from trade unions and related organisations
- endorsed the holding of ballots on industrial action short of a strike in a number of areas: National Trust for Scotland, National Grid, Faslane (Babcock Naval Services), and Highlands and Islands Airports
- agreed to make a £1,000 donation to TUC Aid in respect of the problems facing trade unions in Zimbabwe
- agreed to donate £1,000 to TUC Pride
- agreed to Prospect's 2006 statement of accounts and annual report
- welcomed the improved Prospect financial position and investment returns secured in 2006, and thanked reps and staff for the success of their efforts in introducing the new five-band system of subscriptions
- agreed to present retiring vice-president Robbie Ridoutt with a distinguished members award at the May NEC. The meeting also agreed to call up Del Northcott, of Devonport Royal Dockyard, to take Robbies seat on the NEC from July, as the runner-up in the last NEC elections
- agreed to use £26,000 collected by Prospect members for Oxfam in 2006 to support a project to help minimise the impact of flooding on the lives of people in Cambodia
- endorsed the formation of two new NEC advisory committees - the Defence Maritime and Logistics Group and the Nuclear Decommissioning Working Group.