LAS UNISON BRANCH RULES
The Branch shall be called London Ambulance Service Branch of UNISON.
RELATIONSHIP TO NATIONAL ORGANISATION
2. a) Branch rules shall be in accordance with national rules, decisions of the National Delegate Conference and the National Executive Council.
Any member of the Branch may have a copy of the current Rule Book and Branch Rules upon request.
The Branch shall make an audited annual return of Branch income, expenditure, assets and liabilities as prescribed by the National Executive Council and in accordance with national rules.
AIMS OF THE BRANCH
3. The aims of the Branch shall be in accordance with the aims and values of UNISON as set out in the Rule Book.
4. a) Eligibility for membership shall be in accordance with the Rules of the Union.
b) Applications for membership take effect from the date of which completed forms are received by the Branch or at regional or national level, and the first contribution is made.
c) A meeting of the Branch or Branch Committee may decide not to support a membership application, but such a decision must be consistent with the Rules and with Statute. Such a decision must be explained to the individual in writing, together with their rights of appeal.
d) All members must comply with the Rules.
e) The National Executive Council may terminate an individual’s membership in accordance with the Rules.
5. a) There will be an Annual General Meeting of the Branch, which will elect Branch officers and members of the Branch Committee, which may be preceded by a ballot of all members by decision of the Branch Committee.
b) Other Branch meetings may be called by the Branch Committee, or by 5% of the membership.
c) The Branch will keep a bank/building society account in the name of the Branch.
d) The Branch will have the following eight sections:
(i) North West Section which will incorporate all operational members in LAS North West Sector.
(ii) West Section which will incorporate all operational members in LAS North Sector.
(iii) North East Section which will incorporate all operational members in LAS North East Sector.
(iv) South East Section which will incorporate all operational members in LAS South East Sector.
(v) South West Section which will incorporate all operational members in LAS South West Sector.
(vi) Central Section which will incorporate all operational members in LAS Central Sector.
(vii) East Central Section which will incorporate all operational members in LAS East Central Sector.
(viii) Managers, Emergency Medical Despatchers and Admin and Clerical Staff Section which will incorporate all members in Headquarters and other relevant members.
e) Each Section of the Branch will elect a Section Committee, based on one UNISON Steward from each ambulance station, complex or workplace.
f) The Section Committees for Sections (I)-(vii) in paragraph 5 (d) will elect two members to the Branch Committee, one of whom will be a woman.
g) Section (viii) above, the Officer Section, will elect four members to the Branch Committee, two of whom will be women.
h) There will be two seats on the Branch Committee for PTS members, one for members North of the River and one for members South of the River. These will be elected through the seven operational Sectors.
i) Negotiating matters, which fall within the purview of the Section, shall be dealt with by that Section alone, within overall UNISON policy.
j) Each Section Committee will elect a Secretary.
k) These Section Secretaries are responsible, in conjunction with their Section Committees, for the conduct of Section-related negotiations, and for reporting on their progress to the Branch Committee.
l) One member for each self-organised group within the Branch.
6. a) The Branch shall elect the following Officers annually:
- Vice Chair
- Health & Safety Officer
- Equality Officer(s)
- Affiliated Political Fund Officer (Labour Link)
- Membership & Recruitment Officer
- Welfare Officer
- Retired Members Officer
- Communications Officer
- Branch Education Officer
- Minute Secretary
Others to be determined as necessary for the effective operation of the Branch
b) Branch Officers may be nominated by the Branch Committee or any two members, with the exception of the APF Officer who will be elected by APF members only.
c) All nominations must be received in writing at least three weeks before the Annual General Meeting.
d) Each nominee will be notified and given the right to withdraw prior to any election
e) If there is more than one candidate a vote will be held.
f) The vote may be conducted by a show of hands or by a ballot.
g) In the event of a ballot, official papers will be supplied and each member of the Branch shall be entitled to one vote in respect of each post to be filled. Arrangements may be made for a postal ballot with the assistance of the Regional Office if appropriate.
h) Any election will be conducted in accordance with the Election Procedures – attached as Appendix 1.
7. a) Representation on the Branch Committee will be in accordance with Branch Rules 5 and 6 above.
b) The Branch Committee shall administer branch business in accordance with the national rules and guidance.
c) The quorum for the Branch Committee shall be one third of members of the Committee. The quorum therefore will be 11.
d) The Branch Committee will establish arrangements for representation of members, and difficulties will be discussed with the Regional Officer in the first instance.
e) The Branch Committee will make decisions by a simple majority of those present and voting.
CONDUCT OF MEETINGS
8. a) All meetings will be conducted in a fair and democratic manner.
b) All meetings should be advertised as widely as far in advance as possible.
c) The procedures to be used at the meeting should be explained clearly by the Chair.
d) There shall be a quorum of 2% of Branch membership for the Annual General Meeting and extraordinary meetings. (This will be set by the Branch Committee based on the membership figures in March annually)
e) The Branch will maintain records of meetings, financial records, books of accounts and other appropriate records to enable the Branch to function.
f) Each Section Committee will meet at least annually to nominate its Branch Committee members and Section Secretary, and will meet at other times of the year as determined by its own membership.
9. Communications to the media on behalf of the Branch shall be made only by the Branch Secretary, Regional Officer or in their absence the Branch Chair or in their absence another nominated Branch Officer, who in the first instance should be the Communications Officer.
10. a) Affiliations to relevant constituency Labour Parties will be decided by the APF membership.
b) Affiliations to trades councils shall be determined by the Annual General Meeting or Branch Committee.
11. Donations shall be agreed by the Annual General Meeting or Branch Committee in accordance with the Union’s policies and objectives and subject to provisions of national Rule and policies.
12. Rates of expenses for members attending meetings on behalf of the Branch shall be agreed by the Annual General Meeting or the Branch Committee.
APPROVAL AND ALTERATION TO BRANCH RULES
13. a) Branch rules must be agreed by two thirds of members present and voting at a quorate Annual General Meeting of the Branch.,
b) Branch rules must be approved in accordance with UNISON’s procedures.
c) Any changes to Branch rules must be agreed and approved in the same way.
14. a) Branch finances will be approved by the Annual General Meeting, after consideration and proposal by the Branch Committee.
b) All legitimate expenses incurred in the carrying out of UNISON Branch and related Trade Union activity will be reimbursed following approval by the Branch Treasurer and/or the Branch Committee.
c) The Branch Committee will determine which Branch Officer posts for which a postholder may be issued with a mobile telephone and will agree a schedule of reimbursement for this equipment.
d) The Annual General Meeting shall elect two Branch Auditors who should not be members of the Branch Committee, to audit Branch accounts.
15 OCTOBER 2001
BRANCH OFFICER ELECTIONS
IN LONDON AMBULANCE SERVICE UNISON BRANCH
The procedures to be followed in branch elections are based on UNISON’s rules, aims and objectives.
These procedures will apply to elections by postal ballot for the positions of Branch Secretary, Branch Chair, Branch Treasurer, Branch Equality Officer, Branch Health and Safety Officer, Branch Education Co-ordinator and any other Branch post designated in rule as a core Branch office post or as determined by the Branch, or by the Region or by the NEC.
Members eligible to stand for election to these posts must be full members as defined in rule C2.3. Retired members may only stand for office and vote for positions in the Branch Retired Members Organisation except where the NEC has ruled otherwise. Members standing for a post of Branch APF Officer must be eligible within the rules of the Affiliated Political Fund and only APF levy payers will be entitled to vote for that position.
The Branch or Region must appoint a Returning Officer at least two months before the election. The Returning Officer will be ineligible to be a candidate. The Returning Officer shall also carry out the functions of Scrutineer. She/he shall be responsible for the distribution of voting papers, the counting of votes and for their subsequent storage for a minimum period of six months.
Nomination forms will be available from the Branch and/or the Regional Office depending on which is conducting the ballot. A timetable for the nomination period and the availability of nomination forms will be published to members by the Returning Officer.
Any nominations must be made on the form available and will only be accepted as valid if signed by two full members of the Branch, who are eligible to vote in the election, neither of whom is the nominee, and signed by the nominee as an indication of acceptance of nomination. Completed nomination forms must be returned to the Returning Officer by the date specified in the timetable.
The Returning Officer will confirm to the candidate within one week of close of nominations that the nomination has been received, and confirm the eligibility to stand for the election or otherwise of the candidate. The candidate must subsequently confirm by the date specified in the timetable if she/he wishes to withdraw from the election. Any member or nominee who wishes to appeal against a ruling of ineligibility shall set out the grounds for the appeal in writing to the Returning Officer who will make a final decision within one week of receipt of the appeal. In accordance with the procedures agreed before the nomination period opens as published in the timetable.
All candidates will be given the opportunity of preparing an election address. Such an election address must not be more than 250 words in total and shall not include photographs or other matters not in words. The election address must be received by the specified time and must be no longer than the word limit. If the election address is longer than the approved word limit, the printed election address will be curtailed when the word limit is reached. Linked initials, e.g. TUC will be regarded as a single word.
Candidates are reminded that, as members of UNISON, they agree to abide by the Aims and Objectives of the union, defined in UNISON rules which can only be changed by UNISON’s National Delegate Conference. The NEC therefore believe that there is an obligation for election addresses not to contain material which is contrary to UNISON’s Aims and Objectives as set out in Rule B, particularly the rights of all members to be treated with dignity irrespective of race, gender, sexuality, disability, age or creed.
A copy of each candidate’s election address will be distributed with the ballot paper.
A notification to members advising how the ballot will be conducted will be published with the nomination form. It will include a statement of the union’s commitment to achieve fair representation and proportionality in the particular election. There will also be a recommendation of the minimum number of women post holders requested to achieve proportionality in the election and a similar recommendation concerning fair representation in line with the Branch’s action plan to achieve fair representation and proportionality.
The statement and recommendations will accompany the ballot paper.
The candidate’s election statement can be the only material circulated on behalf of the candidate during the ballot period.
UNISON funds, facilities and resources cannot be used to support campaigning for any nominations, nor to support campaigning for any candidate. Staff, including branch employed staff, cannot assist any candidate in their campaign.
Any group of members which invites a candidate to a meeting must extend an invitation to all other candidates standing for the post or a representative appointed by the candidate.
A help line will be established for members who have not received a ballot paper two weeks prior to the closing date to contact. The Returning Officer shall decide whether to issue a ballot paper to members who contact the help line.
The Returning Officer will reproduce all election addresses in a uniform style.
The election register will comprise those full members included in the UNISON Membership Record as at the date one month before the intended date on which ballot papers are to be despatched. Ballot papers will be distributed to the members’ home address, except where the member has indicated in writing an alternative address to be used as her/his home address. It will be accompanied by a prepaid envelope for the purpose of posting completed ballot papers to the Returning Officer.
Candidates or supporters cannot have access to the Electoral Register. This means that Branch or Workplace registers of members cannot be used by candidates for election purposes. The Register may only be used in respect of the official distribution of ballot papers as any other use would not be permitted under the Data Protection Act.
Candidates are reminded that breach of these procedures may result in the candidate concerned being disqualified and/or subject to a disciplinary enquiry.
Any complaints by, or on behalf of, a candidate in respect of an alleged breach of these procedures or concerning the conduct or fairness of the election must be made in writing to the Returning Officer within a week of the close of the ballot.
The Returning Officer shall determine the validity of any complaint made about the conduct of the election and shall have the right to require that an election be held again and/or disqualify a candidate.
The result of the election will be published on the date given in the published timetable.
UNISON National Rules
The rules are published in the UNISON rulebook. A new edition is produced after every national delegate conference, which incorporates the latest updates and rule changes (agreed by a two-thirds majority of delegates to the conference).