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News from Prospect's NEC: 2008 meetings

December 2008

September and November 2008 meetings

24 July 2008

11/12 June 2008

24 April 2008

14 February 2008


December meeting

  • TUC general secretary Brendan Barber introduced a session on the financial crisis.

  • Deputy general secretary Dai Hudd reported that Prospect recruitment figures for 2008 were the best on record.

  • A report was given on progress in talks with other unions. A formal meeting had taken place between Connect and the presidential team to explore a possible merger between the two unions. Connect is also talking with the CWU. Other discussions are under way between Prospect and the British Association of Colliery Managers, Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers, Association of Professional Fire Officers and the Jersey Civil Servants Association.

  • Reports were given on current pay disputes with employers, including the British Museum, National Museum of Science and Industry, Metropolitan Police and National Grid.

  • Revised forecasts for 2009 to 2011 were noted. They had been adjusted to reflect cuts in the bank rate, which significantly impacts on Prospect’s non-subscription income, the pre-budget report and the reduction in the RPI. The forecast will be kept under under close review in 2009 in view of the deteriorating economic position.

  • A report was received from the Prospect Benevolent Fund. Unfortunately, its value had not grown as anticipated because of the economic circumstances. The NEC agreed to cover the costs of grants to members in 2008 and also contributions to the Civil Service Benevolent Fund and the Electrical and Electronics Industries Benevolent Association.

  • Delegations to the TUC’s 2009 black workers’ conference and the women’s conferences were agreed.

  • The NEC expressed its appreciation for the work of representatives in the Ministry of Defence, leading to a pay offer that was now out to ballot.

September and November meetings

  • The NEC agreed to sponsor Show Racism the Red Card for the 2008/9 football season at a level of £2,500.

  • After a short loss of momentum on recruitment, the NEC welcomed improved recruitment figures for October and expressed its appreciation of all the work done to achieve this improvement.

  • At the November meeting, the general secretary briefed the NEC on an upcoming TUC meeting with the Prime Minister on the financial crisis. Points about the continuing importance of fairly paid public services, energy policy and pensions would be raised.

  • The union Connect made a formal approach asking if Prospect would be interested in talking about a possible merger. A formal meeting involving senior elected officers will be held in December.

  • Reports were given on the successful resolution of the pay dispute at Sellafield Ltd, the implications for members of the EDF takeover of British Energy, the National Air Traffic Services’ pension scheme and progress in disputes in the heritage area. Authority or contingent authority was given for ballots in the Metropolitan Police branch, Ordnance Survey, Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd and the National Grid.

  • A report was given on the unsuccessful application for a judicial review of the Ministry of Defence’s handling of its early release scheme. The NEC agreed to appeal against this ruling to the Court of Appeal.

  • Prospect had a strong delegation, excellent interventions and a high profile in fringe meetings at the 2008 Trades Union Congress. Motions on Guatemala and the need for an equality select committee were agreed for submission to the women’s TUC.

  • It was agreed to donate £250 to the Scottish Pensioners Forum and to match a staff donation of £172 to Breast Cancer Awareness.

  • A report was given on the Finance and Audit Committee’s meeting the previous day. A figure of 3 per cent for the general uplift of branch budgets was agreed.

  • The director of resources reported on the implications of the international financial crisis for Prospect assets and the Prospect pension scheme.

24 July 2008

Among its business the committee addressed the following:
  • The mileage rate paid to members who use their cars on Prospect business would be increased from 28p per mile to 30p per mile for all future claims. Where members have official/company cars they should only claim the cost of fuel at 14p per mile.

  • Where employers pay a mileage rate over 40p per mile, this becomes a taxable benefit. Prospect and the TUC were pursuing this with the Cabinet Office and HMRC.

  • A report was given on plans for the 2010 National Conference in Liverpool.
  • An update was given on the recruitment figures for June and the overall membership position.

  • A trial scheme for reduced subscription rates for graduate trainees in the Ministry of Defence was endorsed.

  • Branch nominees to NEC advisory committees were agreed.

  • Reports were given on industrial disputes in a number of areas including the heritage sector and Sellafield Limited. A ballot on strike action and action short of a strike was likely to be held in Sellafield Limited in August.

  • VOSA branch representatives were congratulated on their successful campaign against privatisation.

  • The Nord Anglia Branch was congratulated for its determined stance in preventing management from imposing detrimental changes to terms and conditions.

  • Two donations of £1,000 each to TUC Aid were approved, one for Zimbabwe and the other for Swaziland. A number of further minor donations were agreed.

  • New membership cards will be sent out to all members at the end of the year.

  • Electoral Reform Services have been appointed as the independent scrutineer for the General Secretary election ballot. A circular has been sent to branches, and the timetable for the ballot is set out in the July edition of Profile.

  • Reports from the Finance and Audit Committee were noted. The second quarter's income and expenditure figures were broadly in line with estimates, with income slightly better than predicted and expenditure just below 50% of the 2008 budget. Reports were also given on the union's policy on assets and on property.

  • The NEC agreed that the ‘assistant general secretary' grade title should be changed to ‘deputy general secretary'; this had no implications for their position on the Prospect pay scale.

11/12 June 2008

 Among its business the committee addressed the following:
  • Progress towards union's strategic and operational objectives. New members of the NEC were brought up to speed with these issues; the NEC also had a general strategic discussion about our direction in the light of Conference decisions.

  • Issues arising from National Conference, including suggested actions on resolutions and guillotined and remitted motions, and arrangements for the 2010 conference in Liverpool.

  • NEC members were elected to the various NEC advisory committees.

  • Audrey Uppington was elected as an employer-nominated Trustee of the Prospect pension scheme.

  • Authority for industrial action in the National Museum of Science and Industry on 13 June was endorsed.

  • Progress in disputes in the following areas was noted: Government Offices; Highways Agency; Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA); British Airports Authority (BAA); the British Museum and National Gallery (both of whom are taking industrial action on 4 July); Museum of London (which took industrial action on 9 June); and Sellafield.

  • A report was given on the MOD Judicial Review. Prospect and PCS have launched legal action against the Ministry of Defence to contest its use of less favourable severance terms in a voluntary early release scheme designed to avoid redundancies.

  • It was agreed to submit motions on defence and on science and technology to the 2008 TUC Congress on 7-12 September in Brighton. Amendments would be submitted at a later date, probably on energy policy and public sector pay.

  • TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O'Grady gave a presentation followed by a question and answer session on key issues for the trade union movement and the TUC, including the implications of union mergers; the possibility of a change of government; employment legislation and other topics.

  • Ana Lucia Pinzon from the Colombian Public Service union Fenaltrase told the NEC about the problems experienced by trade unionists in Colombia. Almost 3,000 unionists have now been murdered in recent years and many others imprisoned, assaulted or injured. Although she did not mention it in her address, Ana Lucia had also been the victim of an attempted assassination and shot twice in the back. The NEC agreed to make a donation of £2,000 to Justice for Colombia, who had organised Ana's visit.

24 April 2008

Among its business the committee addressed the following:

  • Actions being taken in connection with the Redfern Inquiry.

  • Recruitment figures for February and March.

  • The successful Young Professionals Convention which took place on 9 April. The NEC expressed its thanks and congratulations on all concerned for the successful event. A wash-up meeting is being held to look at recommendations for further action.

  • The income and expenditure statement for the 1st quarter of 2008

  • Progress in disputes with employers was noted, in particular the difficulties in the Museums and Galleries area and the action being taken to secure acceptable settlements. Reports were also given on the dispute at Sellafield and in other areas.

  • Reports on the successful delegations to the Scottish TUC and the TUC black workers' conference.

  • A number of donations were agreed, including:
    • £2,500 to TUC Aid in respect of their continuing support for trade unionists in Swaziland, Palestine and Zimbabwe
    • £1,200 to the TUC appeal on Pride 2008
    • £250 to the mental health charity MIND in recognition of Emily Boase completing the London Marathon
    • £250 to Love Music Hate Racism for their 30th anniversary appeal in respect of Rock against Racism
    • £100 to the Multiple Sclerosis Society to match the contribution made by Prospect staff at Chertsey on multiple sclerosis Cake Bake day.

14 February 2008

Among its business the committee addressed the following:
  • the timetable for the next General Secretary election was agreed and would be published to branches.

  • the draft 2007 annual report and action taken on motions from the 2006 Conference were approved and will be circulated to branches and conference delegates in the usual way.

  • NEC conference motions were agreed on a range of organisational and policy issues. A report was given on preparations for the Torquay national conference, including the fact that the National Union of Students president Gemma Tumelty and ACAS chair Ed Sweeney had both accepted invitations to speak.

  • the NEC formally agreed the 2007 accounts which have been approved by Prospect's auditors. The full financial statement will be published in the 2007 annual report, and a summary will appear in the July issue of Profile magazine.

  • a report was given from the Finance and Audit Committee on the review of Asset Policy being conducted with the help of our auditors, H W Fisher.

  • Prospect's strategic and operational objectives (07/0414/NEC/1) were agreed.

  • authority for industrial action ballots was agreed in the Highways Agency, Serco Assurance, the British Museum and other heritage organisations sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Progress in disputes in the following areas was noted: National Museum of Science and Industry; Forensic Science Service; EDF Customers and Business Information and Technology; EDF Customer Field services; AWE; Civil Nuclear Constabulary; BAA; Maritime and Coastguard Agency; core-DEFRA; Valuation Office Agency; Government Offices.

  • a refurbishment project was approved for Prospect's Chertsey office. This will improve the working environment for the membership department, and maximise the space available for letting purposes.

  • a report was given on the preparations for Prospect's young professionals convention on 9 April.