The full National Rules can be downloaded as a pdf. Here is the relevant Rule relating to Branches.
Rule 6 Branches
1. The Union shall be divided into Branches constituted under the authority of the NEC and subject to the Branch Model Constitution. In exercising this authority the NEC shall have regard to the CWU Branch measures of success approved by the NEC, local circumstances, members' wishes and the requirement for an efficient, financially viable organisation
2. The objectives of each Branch shall be to:
a) comply with the Branch Model Constitution and authorised variations;
b) locally organise, recruit and maximise membership levels;
c) protect and promote the interests of members in accordance with the Objectives and Rules;
d) keep members informed on local and national matters;
e) effectively consult members on local issues affecting their work;
f) implement the policies and directives of the NEC and its Industrial Executives.
3. Where a Branch fails to fulfil its obligations in respect of organising and recruiting in any area, business or business division, the NEC may, either directly or via the Industrial Executives, consider allocating organising and recruiting rights, together with any existing members, to an alternative Branch.
2. Branch Members
1. Each member shall belong to a Branch. In the event of any dispute the NEC shall determine the appropriate Branch.
2. Each member is entitled to representation. Where a conflict of interests arises, the Branch shall inform the NEC and seek representation to resolve the conflict.
3. Branch Constitution
1. All Branches shall operate according to the Model Branch Constitution that shall set minimum standards for every Branch. The NEC shall be responsible for publishing the Model Branch Constitution and ensuring its adherence. The Model Branch Constitution shall be mandatory.
2. The Branch Constitution may be varied subject to agreement by the Branch and approval of the NEC.
3. The Model Branch Constitution shall be subject to amendment by motion to General Conference. Any such motion shall require a two-thirds majority to be carried.
4. Branch Organisation
1. Each Branch shall hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) by no later than 31 March of each year.
2. Each Branch shall elect not less than eight Branch Officers and eight other Branch Committee members. The Branch Officers are;
- Equality Officer
- Women's Officer
- BAME Officer
- Young Workers Officer
- Political Officer
Branch Officers should, where possible, not hold more than one of these posts at any one time and the Woman's Officer shall be a woman. The Branch Committee (Officers and Lay members) shall fulfil the roles and responsibilities detailed in the Branch constitution.
3. Between AGM's each Branch shall hold regular Branch Committee or membership meetings for the effective governance of the Branch.
4. A Branch shall not instruct or permit any Branch Officer to act in a manner contrary to the Rules and Objectives or prevent them from acting in accordance with the Rules and Objectives of the Union.
5. Each Branch shall maintain accurate and up-to-date membership records.
6. Each Branch may affiliate to and participate in the appropriate local Trade Union Councils, Labour Parties and other organisations to which the Union is affiliated nationally. However, a Branch shall not support or participate in any other organisation without prior consent of the NEC.
7. Branches may communicate directly with other Branches of the Union, but shall not directly communicate with lay members of another Branch.
8. Branches are responsible for promoting the interests of their retired members and for engaging with their retired members to actively involve them in dealing with these issues, accordingly Branches shall establish a Retired Members section to ensure that the interests of their retired members are protected and promoted. The Retired Members section shall be entitled to elect a section committee which shall be responsible for engaging positively with members of the section to actively involve them in pursuing their interests and issues.
One position on the Branch committee will be reserved for a representative from the Retired Members section, elected by and from the members of that section. That individual shall be entitled to attend Branch committee meetings to ensure that retired member's issues are raised and discussed at this level. Such a representative shall not be entitled to vote on any industrial/occupational issues at these meetings.
1. Each Branch within its area shall ensure fair representation of all members, in terms of race, creed, religion, age, political affiliation, disability, marital status, sex or sexual or gender orientation.
2. Each Branch shall strive to ensure proportionality in Branch organisation and leadership.
6. Constituency Sections
1. Where a Branch has members in more than one Constituency, as defined in the Rules, it shall establish Constituency Sections.
2. A Constituency Section shall have autonomy to deal with matters specific to the members of the Section.
3. A Constituency Section shall be officered by a Secretary and Chair elected by and taken from its members. The Secretary of a Constituency shall, as a minimum, be an Assistant Secretary of the Branch.
4. A Branch must ensure that each Constituency Section is granted a fair share of Branch resources and, where applicable, facilities. All Constituency Sections have the right to be represented at Annual Conference.
5. At every session of the Union's Conference, upon the determination of occupational and constitutional issues, a Branch with Constituency Sections may, where a common Branch policy cannot be agreed, divide its votes, including card votes, on a Constituency basis.
6. Single Constituency Branches and Constituencies within a Branch shall have authority to form such business and divisional sections as are required to meet occupational needs.
7. Branch Mergers
1. The procedure to be followed when Branches wish to merge shall be as follows:
a) Branches shall notify each of their respective members of the intention to consider the matter at a specially convened meeting of the Branch;
b) Branches shall notify the General Secretary in writing of their intention;
c) The GS shall bring the matter to the attention of the NEC, which shall at its discretion authorise the following merger procedure to commence:
i) Branches shall hold, in each Branch wishing to merge, an individual membership ballot on the question. All members of the Branches concerned shall be notified of the ballot, and timetable governing it, and shall be given the opportunity to vote;
ii) The merger shall proceed if a majority of those participating in each Branch ballot vote in favour.
8. Branch Finance
1. The Branch financial year shall be from 1 January to 31 December. Each Branch shall prepare annual balances, including a bank statement certifying the balance in hand of every account held by the Branch, which shall be submitted to CWU HQ Finance Department by no later than 28 February each year, unless CWU HQ gives notice of an alternative date. All financial vouchers shall be retained for at least two years from the date of the year-end concerned. Statements of account, bank statements and balance sheets shall be retained for at least seven years.
2. Every year each Branch shall produce a financial plan for the following year, which shall:
a) be agreed by the Branch Committee, published to members and lodged as a record at CWU HQ Finance Department.;
b) show expected income based on membership figures at the time the plan is agreed by the Branch;
c) include detailed planned expenditure, following the principle that such expenditure shall not exceed income;
d) allocate sufficient funds to cover the provision of childcare costs where activists attend CWU meetings, training events, briefings etc.
e) allocate sufficient funds to ensure Branch representation and participation at Equality conferences and events.
f) identify the purpose of any annual surplus and the intention to use it on behalf of the members;
g) be reported on, against performance to date, to each Branch Committee meeting.
3. Separate and distinct accounts shall be kept for each scheme or fund for which the Branch is responsible e.g. General Account, Savings Account, Welfare Fund, Political Fund, etc.
4. Each Branch shall keep proper accounting records compatible with CWU HQ Finance Department systems.
5. Each Branch shall maintain a register of property and equipment showing cost and date of purchase, and retain all receipts for such until disposal of the property or equipment. All property purchased through the use of membership subscriptions shall remain the property of the CWU.
6. At least two signatures shall be required for withdrawals from any account held in the Branch name.
7. A current statement of Branch accounts, including all relevant books and supporting vouchers, shall be presented for inspection and approval at each Branch Committee meeting and shall then be signed by the Branch Chair and Secretary.
8. Branch Auditors
a) The Branch AGM shall elect two Branch Auditors who shall not be Branch Officers or Branch Committee members. Their names shall be circulated to members and notified to CWU HQ Finance Department upon their election.
b) The Auditors shall examine and audit all Branch Accounts to ensure accuracy and shall have the right to examine and question the Branch Finances, financial policy, income and expenditure on behalf of the lay membership. All vouchers, receipts, bank statements, documents, accounts books, remittance forms and ledgers shall be examined to verify accuracy or otherwise. Auditors shall also verify all cash at the bank and shall satisfy themselves that all Branch income and expenditure is accounted for.
c) The Branch Auditors shall produce a signed statement to Branch members and copy it to CWU HQ Finance Department declaring they have executed their responsibilities.
9. CWU HQ Finance Department, on the advice of the CWU national chartered accountants, shall be responsible for and fund the annual auditing of as many Branch accounts as is deemed necessary.
10. Branches shall not use chartered accountants unless authorised in writing by the SDGS; such accountants shall be appointed by CWU HQ Finance Department.
11. The SDGS or appointed representative shall have the right to examine, on demand, all records of accounts and bank statements and attend Branch meetings to take part in any debate or discussion on the Branch Accounts.
12. To ensure reimbursement Branch claims due to be met by CWU HQ must be forwarded within 3 months of the activity. CWU HQ shall notify all Branches of the year-end cut-off date for such claims.
13. Each Branch may allocate up to 5% of rebate income for the remuneration of their officials. The individual amounts to be paid shall be determined by the AGM.
14. Each Branch may establish a Welfare Fund by the transfer of not more than 5% of rebate income in each year. The Fund shall be used for giving financial and/or other assistance to members in appropriate circumstances. A Welfare Fund shall be administered by Trustees elected at the AGM in accordance with Regulations approved by the NEC.
15. When a Branch is closed all funds and financial documents shall be forwarded to the SDGS. All assets shall become the property of CWU HQ administered by the SDGS and no party shall have any claim on them unless determined by the NEC.
16. Each Branch shall make provision in its constitution to ensure compliance with these Rules.
(Updated and corrected on 11th June 2019)