LANCS & CUMBRIA BRANCH
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The Branch of the Communication Workers Union shall be known as the Lancs & Cumbria Branch
The objectives of the Branch shall be to:
- Locally organise, recruit and maximise membership levels and to maintain accurate branch membership records.
- Protect and promote the interests of members in accordance with the objectives as expressed in the National Rules and policies of the union.
- Keep members informed on local, regional and national matters.
- Effectively consult members on local issues affecting their work.
- Implement the policies and directives of the NEC, Industrial Executives and Conferences of the Union.
The Branch shall ensure that:
- All applications for membership are dealt with in accordance with national rules
- All members are aware of their entitlements and obligations as defined in the national rules
3.2 Branch Membership
The membership of the Branch shall include:
- All relevant persons in the communications, financial services, information technology and related industries and in all businesses where the Union has recognition.
- Retired Members
- Other groups or persons agreed between the Branch and CWU Headquarters.
4. BRANCH MANAGEMENT
4.1. Branch Constitution, Branch Rules and Standing Orders
- The Branch shall operate according to the Model Branch Constitution agreed by the NEC and the Branch Officers and Branch Committee shall ensure the terms of the Branch Model constitution are complied with.
- Branches may also adopt and operate local Branch Rules and Standing Orders to govern any areas not specifically covered by the Branch Model Constitution, which shall be subject to the agreement of the Branch and approval by the NEC
The affairs of the Branch shall be governed by General Meetings of which there shall be an AGM and minimum of one other. In the intervals between General Meetings, the affairs of the Branch shall be directed by the Branch Officers and Branch Committee.
4.3. Minimum Standards
The CWU is committed to ensuring that all branches provide effective and professional representation to all members. To achieve this it is a requirement that all branches ensure that the following minimum standards are adhered to:
- All members and representatives will act in strict accordance with the rules and policies of the CWU at all times.
- The Branch fully supports the CWU aim of providing all members with equality of opportunity, dignity and respect. Therefore members and representatives of the branch will be encouraged, and where appropriate supported, in participating in such events that support these aims. This includes attendance at CWU organised/supported events such as; the various Equality & Diversity Conferences, Retired Members and Youth events.
- The Branch will attend and take an active part in all national, regional and local meetings that affect the Branch membership.
- All representatives of the branch have a responsibility to ensure that all issues are dealt with promptly and efficiently.
- The Branch Committee will put in place effective communication channels throughout the Branch area and ensure that members are kept fully informed on all relevant matters.
- The Branch Officers & Branch Committee shall ensure that priority treatment is given to the recruitment and organising of new members throughout the branch area and that this important issue is properly funded and sufficiently resourced.
- 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.
- Each Branch shall strive to ensure proportionality in Branch organisation and leadership. In addition the Branch shall strive for proportionality on external representations, forums and conferences.
- The Branch Office shall - as a minimum - contain the following basic items of essential equipment and it shall be the responsibility of the principle Branch Officers to ensure that they are operational/functioning at all times:
- Secure filing and storage facilities
- Telephone (including 24 hour answer phone facility)
- Branch email address
- Where reasonably practical all Branch meeting venues should be accessible without prior request from members with disabilities. Timing and location of meetings will take into account the needs of all Branch members - and where reasonably practical no groups of members should be disadvantaged.
4.4. Branch Organisation
- The Branch shall hold an Annual General Meeting by no later than 31st March of each year. Not less than 28 days notice shall be given to members of the Annual General Meeting and the Branch Secretary shall be responsible for publishing the agenda and timetable for the submitting of motions and amendments etc.
- The Branch shall elect on a biennial basis a Branch Committee, which shall include as a minimum the following elected Branch Officers and members:
- The branch may also elect other branch officers and branch committee members as required and agreed by the Branch.
- The precise composition of the Branch Committee and the duties of the Branch Officers shall be detailed in the Branch Rules or attached as an appendix to the Model Branch Constitution.
- Where a Branch has members in more than one Constituency of the union it shall establish Constituency Sections.
- The Branch has established a Retired Members' sections which shall be entitled to elect a Section Committee to deal with retired members' problems. The Branch shall appoint an Officer or Committee member of the Branch to service the retired members' section.
- Between AGMs the branch shall hold regular Branch Committee meetings or membership meetings for the effective governance of the Branch.
c) Treasurer/Financial Secretary
d) Equality Officer
e) Women's Officer
f) BAME Officer
g) Youth Officer
h) Political Officer
i) Eight other Branch Committee members
These will include:
j) Deputy Secretary
k) Retired members Secretary or Chairperson elected by retired members.
7.1 Voting at all meetings shall be by a show of hands, except where a ballot of the meeting is demanded before the question is put.
7.2 The eligibility of a member to vote at Branch Meetings shall be decided by the register held by the branch and all the members will be entitled to vote if on the branch register.
Note: No Branch Officer holding a position of (a), (b) or (c) may hold another post of (a), (b) or (c). Different people must hold each of the three posts.
Retired Members are not entitled or eligible to stand for election or be able to vote in the above elections (a) to (i).
All candidates for the post of Political Officer must pay the political levy and with the exception of Northern Ireland members they must also be members of the Labour Party.
4.5 Branch Election Procedures
The Branch shall establish rules governing the conduct of elections to ensure equality of treatment for all candidates. These are incorporated below into the Branch Constitution/Branch Rules and are published to the membership. All Officership elections in the branch shall be held as individual membership ballots which may only be undertaken via the post, email and workplaces.
No member shall be elected to any office without first having been nominated in writing by two members of the Branch, one as a proposer and the other as seconder, and with the candidate's written consent to the nomination.
Such written nomination papers shall be sent to the Branch Secretary or Branch Chair which shall be shown in the notification inviting nominations. The notification shall also state clearly the closing date by which they must be received, that date will allow members 14 clear days to submit nominations.
Each nominee will be given the opportunity of submitting an election address of not more than 300 words, this must be received with the nomination form. All election addresses will be published at least 7 days prior to any election taking place.
Voting papers will be issued to each member as is appropriate for each election to be held. All practicable efforts will be made by the branch to ensure that members on annual leave or absent for other reasons are offered an opportunity to participate in the ballot.
A Returning Officer/Branch Auditor elected at the AGM who shall not themselves be a member of the Branch Committee shall oversee the election process and count and confirm any election result.
4.5.3 Positions Becoming Vacant Between AGMs
Any vacancies, which may arise amongst the Officers between elections, shall be filled under the procedures detailed above. Decisions not to invite nominations must be agreed by the Branch Committee.
4.6 Postal Section
There will be a Postal Section for Members employed in the Post Office and Associated Businesses. The Section Meetings will be held on an 'as and when needed' basis with the minutes being forwarded to the Branch Secretary. The meetings will only discuss specific items affecting their employment or duties.
4.7 Special Branch Meetings
A Special Meeting of the Lancs & Cumbria Branch may be called for any time following a written request from at least 10 Members with a quorum of 10 members attending within 15 minutes of the advertised time.
4.8 Branch Committee Meetings
- The Branch Committee shall normally meet quarterly. Committee meetings may be called at any time by the Chairperson and Secretary of the Branch but at least 3 meetings will be scheduled at the start of the year and advertised to the Branch Committee members.
- Any member may at any time put a question to the committee for consideration and a written reply must be sent by the Secretary following consideration by the Committee.
- The Committee shall also actively seek to build up a network of occupational representatives amongst members in each company where the Branch has members.
4.9 Branch Officers
The Branch shall have the following officers whose responsibilities shall be:
- The Branch Chairperson shall preside and be responsible for the conduct of all Branch and Committee meetings and shall sign all minutes of meetings and through the Secretary, order Special Meetings when necessary.
- The Branch Chairperson must ensure that the Branch has proper organised procedures to cater for Branch ballots.
- To be a member of the Branch Finance Committee and to vet and sign all branch monthly statements.
- The Branch Chairperson shall consult with the Branch Secretary on a weekly basis to ensure that all officer's whereabouts are regularly updated to ensure good utilisation of time.
- To keep a record containing necessary particulars of members in conjunction with the Membership Secretary and Branch Treasurer.
- To conduct the general business of the Branch.
- The Branch Secretary shall be responsible after agreement with HR and the Senior Officers for facility time granted by the company (BT) that the distribution is made to the officers most suitable to represent the members within the company, provided the branch secretary is employed within BT. Any withdrawal of facility time will be same process as the above. All other facility time granted by companies outside of the core industry (BT) will be distributed by the relevant committee to that industry/company.
- To convene the meetings of the Branch Committee in consultation with the Branch Chair and to provide a report to each meeting.
- To prepare all documents ordered by a General Meeting of the members or by Branch Committee and to forward, publish or present them in accordance with instructions by the same authorities.
- To furnish the NEC and CWU Field Officers with such details, statistics or reports regarding the Branch or its members as may be required and to submit details of any amendments to Branch Rules and Standing Orders which have been carried at the Branch AGM to the General Secretary.
- To ensure that those responsible within the Branch keep the members informed of any agreements, negotiations and decisions that affect them.
- To collect and keep readily available all information and data likely to be of service to the Branch.
- To forward to the General Secretary by such dates as are provided for by the NEC, any proposition which the Branch intends to lay before the Annual Conference, after such motion has received the approval of a duly constituted Branch meeting.
- To report briefly to Section Meetings, the proceedings of the Branch Committee.
- To prepare and present to the membership an Annual Report of the work of the Branch, such report to be supplied to the membership seven days before the AGM
- To be a member of the finance committee, where they exist and any sub-committee and to vet and sign all branch monthly statements.
- To arrange the preparation, under the direction of the Branch Chairperson, any ballot papers required for Branch Elections and ensure that these are provided to the election officer.
- To ensure that autonomous sections within the Branch are working effectively.
- To make arrangements for the Branch Office to be staffed on a daily basis.
- To be responsible for the legal and medical work in the Branch in co-operation with other Branch Officers and representatives.
- To conduct all legal and medical correspondence with members, the Union Legal Services department and the Union's solicitors on behalf of the Branch
- To keep separate accounts for each fund of the Branch.
- To control the collection of subscriptions and levies.
- To receive all monies collected on behalf of the Branch.
- To remit to the Senior Deputy General Secretary any monies due to Union Headquarters by National Rule or by a decision of a Conference.
- To deposit all funds in a Unity Trust Bank or as otherwise determined by CWU Headquarters.
- To pay all proper claims on the Branch as they become due.
- To present an audited balance sheet at the Branch Annual General Meeting for each account held by the Branch.
- To exhibit to the members a copy of the balance sheets and audited accounts not less than 7 days prior to the Annual General Meeting.
- To have cash, bank statements and account books available at each Branch Committee Meeting.
- To retain all financial vouchers for at least two years from the date of the annual audit.
- To keep all statements of accounts and balance sheets for a period of seven years.
- To ensure that the Branch accounts are submitted to CWU Headquarters by the advertised date.
- To attend the monthly finance committee meetings, where they exist and to provide all relevant documentation to the committee.
The Vice Chairperson shall exercise authority and carry out the duties of the Chairperson on all occasions when the Chairperson is unable to carry out the duties of that office.
Deputy Branch Secretary
- Shall undertake the duties of the Secretary whenever the Secretary is unable to carry out the duties of that office.
- Assistant Secretaries shall assist and update the Branch Secretary on all matters relevant to members within their area of responsibility.
Assistant Secretary Postal
- The Assistant Secretary Postal shall assist the Branch Secretary on all matters relevant to the Postal members.
Health & Safety Co-ordinator
- The Health & Safety Co-ordinator shall deal with all matters relating to Branch Safety issues.
Assistant Secretary Health & Safety
To assist whenever the Health & Safety Co-ordinator is unable to carry out the duties of that office.
Retired Members Secretary
- The Retired Members Officer shall assist the Branch Secretary on all matters relevant to the Retired Membership.
- To ensure that the Branch is affiliated to all Constituency Labour Parties within its geographic boundaries and to regularly liaise with the Branch delegates to the CLP
- To recruit as many CWU members as possible to the Labour Party.
- To liaise and communicate with CWU Regional Political Committees, CLP Secretaries, Trade Union Liaison Officers and the Regional Labour Party Office over election and CLP campaigns, local CWU campaigns and general political activity. Assist in the distribution of Labour Party literature to the membership.
- To provide an Annual Report to be submitted to the Branch.
- To provide and maintain a local Branch Political Bulletin which will inform Branch members of political issues and activities of interest to them.
- To assist in the political training and education of the Branch membership.
- To co-ordinate any CWU political campaign throughout the Branch membership.
- Promote issues affecting BAME workers to the branch and committee, liaising with the Branch Secretary/Equality Officer
- Escalating issues where necessary
- Acting as general point of contact where necessary
- Attending Regional and Equality committee meetings, CWU Black Workers Conference, TUC Black Workers Conference
- Support CWU campaigns against the Far Right, Migrant Workers etc
- Prepare an Annual Report for presentation to the membership to include 12 month campaign plan
- To ensure the Branch promotes the Equal Opportunities statements and policies agreed from time to time by the Union at Annual Conference and within the Branch.
- To establish a liaison with properly constituted local groups within the geographical area.
- To advise other Union Officers on any Equal Opportunities issue arising in negotiations and representations.
- To prepare reports to the Branch covering Equal Opportunities work and on issues the Officer wishes to bring to the attention of the Branch.
- To prepare an Annual Report for presentation to the membership to include 12 month campaign plan
- To liaise with the Branch Secretary or appropriate officer and Health & Safety Co-ordinator on matters of welfare.
- To carry out home visits to members as directed by the appropriate officer.
The primary role of Branch Youth Officers is to represent members in the Branch under the age of 30.
Branch Youth Officers also have a leading role in helping to organise and recruit such members. They therefore:
- Promote issues affecting young people.
- Report to Branch and Regional Youth Committees on relevant issues.
- Escalate any issues as appropriate to senior Branch/Regional Officers.
- Act as a point of contact between members and the Branch.
- Act as a point of contact between Head Office and the Branch on issues concerning young members.
- Provide information to young members which the Branch Youth Officer may themselves receive from CWU National or Regional level.
- Prepare an Annual Report for presentation to the membership to include 12 month campaign plan
Women officers should have a leading role in any recruitment or organisational campaigns where potential female workers are being targeted. Some of the areas that a women's officer will have responsibility for will include:
- Promoting issues affecting Women
- Reporting to their branch/region on relevant issues
- Prepare an Annual Report for presentation to the membership to include 12 month campaign plan
- Escalating relevant issues where necessary
- Acting as a point of contact between members and the branch
- Acting as a liaison between CWU HQ and the branch on issues concerning female members.
- To provide information to female members (to which the women's officer may themselves receive from CWU national or regional level)
- To attend Regional Women's Committees and the CWU women's conference and feed in where appropriate.
Note:- There are no specific agreements on facilities for the Branch Youth, Women's, Equality, BAME Officers etc - with any of the main employers with whom the CWU negotiates. This means that any facilities and support needs to be either negotiated separately with the employer, in conjunction with the Branch Secretary, who will ensure that any time authorised is either built into any overall allocation of paid release available, or if taken as unpaid leave, is reimbursed. Inevitably these officers, like all union officers, will have to use some of their own time in making the role a success.
- The workplace representative is the interface between the Branch and its members, to liaise with the Branch officers.
The Branch Committee shall consist of:
- Branch Officers listed in these rules
- Members of the Branch holding CWU office outside the Branch who shall be ex officio, having the right to speak but not to vote.
- Representatives from Sections if appropriate, or a minimum of eight committee members
5. BRANCH FINANCES
- The Branch shall ensure that the finances of the branch are conducted in strict accordance with the rules and policies of the union.
- The Branch shall produce a financial plan for the following year.
- The rules governing all Branch financial matters shall be detailed in the Branch Rules or attached as an appendix to the Branch Constitution.
- Lay Branch Auditors
- Functions connected with presentations for recognition of service to the Union
- Functions connected with the retirement of Members
- Functions open to all Members
a) The financial year of the Branch will be 1st January to 31st December.
b) The statement of accounts will be rendered to the AGM and sent to the Senior Deputy General Secretary in accordance with the National Rules
c) Cheques from the Branch Funds shall be signed by two signatories selected from The Branch Chairperson, Branch Secretary, Deputy Branch Secretary, Financial Secretary or Assistant Secretary (Branch Office Duties)
d) Remuneration and Honoraria for all Officers of the Branch shall be decided at the AGM in accordance with the National Rules
e) All journeys should be made at the cheapest, most practicable method possible. All return journeys should be included in the original mileage claim, subject to the National ruling of 200 miles
f) The branch will not contribute wholly or partially to any request for financial assistance from a member who is seeking to obtain an educational qualification or a professional registration. Training at Alvescot or other CWU approved premises will be exempt from the restriction.
a) The Branch AGM shall elect two lay 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 Dept upon their election.
b) The lay Branch 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. Lay Branch Auditors shall also verify all cash at the Bank and shall satisfy themselves that all Branch income and expenditure is accounted for.
c) The lay Branch Auditors shall produce a signed statement to Branch members and copy it to CWU HQ Finance Dept declaring they have executed their responsibilities.
5.1 Social Expenditure
The branch may spend monies on social activities in accordance with the rules of the union, provided this does not create an adverse balance in Branch Funds. Such activities could be :-
Any social event proposed by the members of the branch shall be agreed at a branch meeting prior to the event taking place.
5.2 Welfare Expenditure
A separate Welfare Fund will be set up independent of the General Branch Funds and will be subject of an agreed set of rules.
6. DELEGATES TO CONFERENCE
- All Conference delegations shall normally include the Branch Chairperson and Branch Secretary. Other nominations will be accepted via Secretary, prior to or on the night of the AGM and nominations also taken from the floor.
- The Branch Committee must ensure that all constituency/business interests are represented.
- Each Branch shall strive to ensure proportionality in its delegations
- The Members at the AGM will elect the delegates from the nominees.
- The highest placed non-elected candidate per constituency will act as reserve delegate.
- The decision to send Observer Delegate/s to Conference will be taken at the AGM.
- Nominations will be taken from the floor.
- Priority will be given to Observers to who have not attended Conference previously.
7. AFFILIATIONS & LOCAL DELEGATIONS
- The Branch may affiliate to organisations in accordance with National Rules.
- Local delegations shall normally be appointed by and from members of the Branch Committee and whenever possible the Branch Secretary shall lead the delegation.
- Each Branch shall strive to ensure proportionality in its delegations.
8. MEMBERS APPROACHING UNION HEADQUARTERS
The normal channel for communication between lay members and CWU Headquarters is via the Branch Secretary.
9. DISPUTES AND INTERPRETATIONS OF RULES
Should any point arise on which these Rules are vague or silent, such points shall be decided by the Chair and submitted to the next General Meeting. Should any dispute arise between any member or group of members of the Branch, such disputes should be considered by the Branch Committee and a report made to the next General Meeting.
10. INDUSTRIAL ACTION
The procedures to be followed must be in accordance with the prevailing National Rule and relevant legislation.
All matters of a disciplinary nature arising from the rules and regulations of the Union effecting Union members shall be dealt with in accordance with the prevailing National Rule.
12. ALTERATIONS TO BRANCH RULES & STANDING ORDERS.
- No Branch Rule or Standing Order shall be amended without the consent of a majority of those present at the Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting called on the instruction of the General Secretary, at which any proposed amendments have been duly and properly notified.
- Any amendments carried shall not be implemented until submitted to and approved by the NEC.
13. UNION COURSES
Nominations for Union Courses must be made at Branch Meetings and prior to any member being authorised to attend a course, the nomination to be accepted by a majority present at the meeting.
BRANCH STANDING ORDERS
- All meetings shall begin at the time stated on the notice summoning the meeting, subject to a quorum being present.
- A Quorum for any General Meeting shall consist of 10 members
- A Quorum for a Committee Meeting shall be a majority of its voting members.
- If within fifteen minutes of the time appointed for a meeting to commence, a Quorum is not present, the meeting shall be dissolved and those members incurring travelling expenses may be reimbursed from Branch Funds.
- If during the course of the meeting, the number of members present does not constitute a Quorum, the meeting shall be dissolved forthwith.
2. Order of Business.
- An agenda shall be prepared by the appropriate Secretary (or Deputy) in conjunction with the Chairperson, to be published on the notice summoning the meeting.
- Any member desiring to introduce any item under 'Any Other Business' (AOB) for consideration of the meeting should normally notify such business to the Chairperson at the commencement of the meeting. The Chairperson shall exercise discretion in admitting it to the agenda or confine the member to giving notice of motion to be brought to the next appropriate meeting. A motion shall not be placed before the meeting on an item raised under AOB except where the issue has arisen after the agenda has been published and which is genuinely urgent. Advertised business shall in any case take preference over AOB.
- The duration of all meetings shall not be longer than two hours.
- If Standing Orders are suspended to increase the length of time that a meeting can be held, then only thirty (30) minutes extra will be allowed.
The minutes of the previous Meeting shall be circulated, and no motion or discussion shall be allowed on the Minutes except in regard to their accuracy, whereupon they shall be adopted and signed by the Chairperson. Reports may be given and the meeting shall then be at liberty to ask questions with regards to Matters Arising Not Covered by the Agenda.
4. Rules of Debate/Selection of Speakers
When more than one member wishes to speak, the order of precedence shall rest with the Chairperson. Members, if appropriate, should clearly identify themselves before commencing to speak. All speeches must be made "Through the Chairperson". The speaker must confine the contribution to the subject under discussion.
5. Propositions and Amendments
Every proposition or amendment must be moved and seconded by Members actually present at the meeting. Only one amendment may be introduced at a time. If no amendment(s) succeed, the meeting returns to the original motion.
6. Chairperson's Ruling
The ruling of the Chairperson on any question under the Standing Orders or on points of order or explanation shall be final, unless challenged by at least four members, and unless two thirds of the members present vote against such ruling.
- Voting at all meetings shall be by a show of hands, except where a ballot of the meeting is demanded before the question is put.
- The eligibility of a member to vote at a Meeting shall be decided by the register held by the branch
- The Chairperson shall not vote on any matter except where there is an equal number of votes cast on each side, when the Chairperson will then have the right to exercise a casting vote.
- If it is obvious that a number of members have abstained, the Chairperson may ask for these to be recorded.
8. Suspension of Standing Orders
Any of the foregoing Standing Orders may be suspended on a vote of two thirds of Members present.
Regulations for the Lancs & Cumbria Branch Welfare Fund
1. The Branch in accordance with the National Rule Book of the Union shall establish a Branch Welfare Fund by apportioning up to 5% of the monies accrued by the Branch Fund each year.
2. The fund shall be known as the Lancs & Cumbria Branch Welfare Fund and all monies paid into the fund shall be accounted for separately from the Branch Fund.
3. The fund shall be used to provide a welfare service to the members of the Branch who have been off work for three weeks or more, who suffer extended illness or who have exceptional domestic and/or financial difficulties of a temporary nature.
4. The fund shall be administered by 5 trustees who will be the Welfare Committee - The Branch Chairperson, Financial Secretary, Branch Secretary, Deputy Branch Secretary and Health & Safety Co-ordinator
5. The trustees shall have the authority to make payments from the fund subject to a maximum of £200. Hardship/Welfare payments may be paid at the discretion of the Trustees dependant on the individual's circumstances. Usually not more than one payment will be made to any single individual in a period of six months unless the Trustees feels the case to be warranted.
6. The Deputy Branch Secretary shall be responsible for maintaining a record of the payments made from the fund.
7. The Trustees shall present a regular report of all cases of payments, visits and welfare services provided to members off work on medical grounds. The report shall bear in mind individual anonymity and the report made in confidence to the committee.
8. A statement showing all income and expenditure of the fund shall be made available each quarter to the Chairperson who shall sign the same.
9. Any expenses incurred in the operation or administration of the fund shall be chargeable to the Branch Fund.
10. The fund shall be subject to annual audit by the Branch Auditors. Copies of the Auditors Report shall be made available to the Branch AGM and to the CWU Head Office.
11. The Financial Secretary shall be responsible for maintaining a record of payments to members.