A message from Roger

The UCU general secretary ballot result has now been declared and Sally Hunt has been elected. The union and our members face major and difficult challenges from employers and government in almost every aspect of our working lives. The turnout was just 13.9 per cent which in itself suggests the scale of the challenge the union faces. I wish Sally Hunt very well in meeting those challenges. To meet them successfully will require a clear strategic vision and a determined articulate response which members can have confidence in and ownership of. I will seek to play my part in ensuring that is the case through my continuing role as Head of Equality and Employment Rights Finally I would like to sincerely thank the hundreds of members who sent messages of support and campaigned during the election.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Wednesday 6th March

That ballot result

Voting closed today at midday. The result will be known at 10.45am on Friday 9th March.

Here is a curiosity.

General Secretary candidates are to be excluded from the count for the UCU GS election later this week.

This is not on advice from The Electoral Reform Society which is conducting the ballot or the Trade Union Certification Officer who is responsible for the statutory elements of governance of trade unions.

It is a decision of the two UCU returning officers. It is unclear why this decision has been taken. I have failed to discover why.

A quick ring around a sample of unions couldn’t find another union in which candidates were not able to be present at the count if they wished. In at least one of the predecessor unions it was the norm.

Given that the result may be a close run thing, some might have thought it was in everyone’s interest to invite candidates or their nominees to be present to check there is no dispute, for example, about what precisely constitutes a spoilt ballot paper given the awesome complexity of the ballot paper.

It would also avoid any one candidate inadvertently learning of the result before another candidate. If essential work commitments clash (for example I was speaking at a seminar on ESOL with Bill Rammell on Wednesday morning and Sally Hunt was at a JNCHES meeting at the same time) then nominees could be present as is normal in such cases.

No one is suggesting any underhand motives, or that the ERBS doing the count are incompetent. It just seems sensible, certainly in respect of openness about what constitutes a “spoilt” ballot paper given there are many other elections on the same ballot sheet.

Anyway, if any reader of this blog knows of another example of a union which says candidates for the most senior elected position in the union can’t attend the count, I’ll buy them a coffee and croissant. Please form an orderly queue now.

No doubt something to bear in mind for future elections……..

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A trade unionist all his working life. An activist and a proud campaigner, Roger has consistently worked to defend human rights of workers. As the leader of the Equality and Employment Rights team in the newly formed UCU he continues to unite the movement around equality and keep employment rights at the top of the agenda.