The next RMT Annual General Meeting, in June 2015, will be a chance to discuss changes to the union’s rules.
The Executive will be submitting its own proposals arising from the review of the union’s structure - but rank-and-file members can also submit proposals through branches.
Eight branches need to submit any particular proposal for it to get on the agenda. Off The Rails is promoting five proposals: see the insert in the zine for the full wording.
1. DISPUTE ADVISORY COMMITTEES. We want a new rule that whenever we have a dispute, the union must recognise a committee elected by and from the workers involved to make the dispute as effective as possible and to advise the union on strategy.
2. GIVE OUR EQUALITIES COMMITTEES MORE CLOUT. Instead of being powerless and ‘advisory’, our Women’s, Black and Ethnic Minority and Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Trans Committees should be empowered to organise events and campaigns.
3. DISABLED MEMBERS’ COMMITTEE. RMT doesn’t have one - it should!
4. A LARGER AGM. Currently, only 70 or so delegates make policy for the whole union. A bigger AGM would be more representative and democratic.
5. LONGER TIME FOR BRANCHES TO SUBMIT AMENDMENTS. Instead of just voting For or Against a motion, branches should have more chance to submit proposed changes to them.
Full wording of proposed rule changes
Rule change no. 1: “Dispute Advisory Committees”
RULE 22, TRADES DISPUTES
Add new Clause 11 and renumber subsequent Clauses
11. “In the event of a trade dispute, the Executive shall recognise a Dispute Advisory Committee elected by and from the members involved in the dispute. The Dispute Committee shall organise amongst members to maximise the effectiveness of industrial action, and shall have the right to submit to the Executive (or General Grades Committee or Shipping Committee, as appropriate) resolutions concerning the conduct of the dispute, timing and form of industrial action. The Executive will seek the view of the Dispute Advisory Committee on any new offer received from the employer before making a decision about it. The Executive retains the sole power to make all decisions regarding the dispute, as outlined in the rest of this rule.”
Rule change no. 2: More power to equalities committees
Throughout Rule, delete "Advisory".
Clause 1. Delete "Each Committee to meet three times per year, to advise the Council of Executives on matters germane to these Committees." Replace with "Each Committee will meet three times per year. Each Committee will advise the Council of Executives, and organise activities which are in line with union policy, on matters germane to that Committee."
Clause 5. Add at end "following consultation with the Committee."
Clause 7. Delete "the matters to be dealt with by each Conference will be determined by Branches and Regional Councils, who will be invited to submit resolutions for consideration." and replace with "the matters to be dealt with by each Conference will be determined by the Committee, and will include resolutions submitted by Branches and Regional Councils."
Throughout Rule, replace "Liaison" with "Conference Organising".
Rule change no. 3: Disabled Members' Advisory Committee
1. Add 'a National Disabled Members Advisory Committee'
Add 6:The National Disabled Members Advisory Committee shall deal with items relating to Black and Ethnic Minority members, submitted by Branches and Regional Councils. The Committee will not seek to determine Union policy, and its reports shall be submitted via the General Secretary to the Equal Rights Sub-Committee.Renumber subsequent clauses.
Rule change no. 4: A bigger AGM
RULE 13, BALLOT AND ELECTION PROCEDURES
Clause 17: delete “1300” and insert “500”
Clause 18: delete “election by the electoral area to which it belongs. Only one member of a Branch can attend an Annual of Special General Meeting as a delegate.”
Insert “every 500 branch members or part thereof. A branch is automatically entitled to one Annual General Meeting delegate for every 500 members and its subsequent block vote in any elections to decide the remaining Area/Region’s delegates will be reduced by 500 votes for every automatic delegate it previously gained.”
Clause 21: delete “the member who received the largest number of votes in a recount of the ballot papers in the group in which the vacancy occurs.”
And insert “a member from that delegate’s branch. In the event of there being no member from that branch willing to be a delegate then the delegate will come from the branch in the Area/Region which received the largest number of votes in the ballot without getting a delegate.”
Rule change no. 5.: Longer period to submit AGM amendments
RULE 3, GOVERNMENT OF THE UNION: ANNUAL AND SPECIAL GENERAL MEETINGS
Clause 5: delete “8th April” and insert “1st April”delete “first Thursday in May” and insert “8th May”
If you submit these rule changes to your RMT branch, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.