Making union policy

Any member can influence union policy. You do this by putting forward a motion to express your views on the direction of the union. This could be about the work of your branch, your region, your group, the union nationally, or any of the other structures.

Motions affecting the work of your branch

A motion regarding the work of you branch would probably be about a local issue. For example, if there is a problem with management and you want to suggest a way forward for the branch to act upon.

Once you have written the motion, you submit it to your Branch Executive Committee (BEC) according to its rules. The rules are written down in the form of a "branch constitution". The constitution will set out a path for how the motion is taken forward

How to write a motion

When writing a motion you should include the following key points.

Who the motion is from

This depends on where the motion is going:

  • If the motion is to your branch then it might come from your department, you personally, the young members in your work place etc
  • If the motion is to group conference it should come from your branch
  • if the motion is to annual delegate conference it should come from your branch and the NEC can submit motions 

What it is you want to achieve

Make it absolutely clear what it is you want to achieve. For example this could be:

  • set up a new PCS structure, such as a network, forum
  • lobby the government
  • raise awareness among members
  • affiliate to or give money to another organisation

Why you want what you want

You should make it clear what the motivating factor behind your motion are. For example it could be because:

  • members' jobs are at stake
  • members are suffering financial hardship
  • pensions are threatened

Who you want to do it

You should make it clear who should be responsible for taking the motion forward. Possibilities are:

  • your branch
  • your group
  • the NEC
  • TUC delegates

When you want it done by

Always make sure you include a timescale, otherwise it might never get done!

Motions to a group conference

A motion regarding the work of your group will usually be about pay or terms and conditions which are negotiated by your group negotiators. 

Remember to make sure that you are asking for something reaslistic and achievable.

The procedure for submitting a motion to your group conference is:

1. Write the motion. You may want to discuss this with colleagues in your workplace.

2. Submit the motion to your branch to be discussed at your branch annual general meeting.

3. Members present at the branch meeting vote on whether to submit this motion to annual Group conference. It may be that they would like to amend the motion, in which case any amendments are put forward, discussed and agreed, before the vote on whether to submit it to group conference.

4. If the motion is passed at your branch annual general meeting it is then submitted to the standing orders committee of your group gonference.

5. So long as your motion meets the criteria of standing orders committee (see writing a motion section) it is put on the agenda for debate at your group conference.

If your motion is passed at group conference it becomes the policy of your group.

Motions to annual delegate conference

A motion to annual delegate conference is a motion that affects the national policy of the union. 

Motions to annual delegate conference are submitted by branches, groups, the NEC and other forums that are permitted to do so.

Many PCS policies go beyond the workplace, promoting democracy and social justice throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. Examples are:

  • Protect Public Services Campaign
  • priority given to young members
  • The view taken on the war in Iraq
  • national pay and pensions campaigns
  • work to promote the anti racism agenda
  • equal pay for work of equal value

All motions go through a democratic process in the same way they do through your branch.

Motions are then submitted to the standing orders committee at annual delegate conference. So long as the motion falls within the union's rules, it is then debated at conference and voted upon. Motions that are passed become policy and part of the work of the union.

What do standing orders committees do with motions?

Standing Order Committees ensures motions 'fit' with the union's constitution and rules. If they do not then they cannot go to conference. Standing Orders Committee puts all motions that do 'fit' on the conference agenda.

How do I have my say if I'm not at conference?

Not only would the country come to a standstill if all 310,000 of our members went to conference, it could also bankrupt the union, let alone finding a venue that can hold that many people!

You vote for delegates that attend group and annual delegate conferences. Every member of every branch is entitled to vote at their branch annual general meeting on who should attend to represent them. These people are there to represent the your views - the membership of your branch - not their own personal opinion, and must vote accordingly.

Delegates attend conference with a mandate from your branch. This is the instruction to branch delegate(s) on which way to vote on motions decided by your branch members at a mandating meeting held prior to conference, once the branch has agenda for conference.

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