The following Standing Orders, as ratified by the branch on the AGM of 8th February 2018, dictate how the Branch shall be run. The last amendments were made at the AGM of 18th February 2021.
- Notice of Meeting and Quorum
1.1 The branch shall meet no less often than once every three months, typically on the second Thursday of the month at 11:00 or 12:00 on the Gilmorehill (main) Campus depending on room availability, or online via Zoom or any other platform. The date, start and finish time and place of the branch meeting shall be decided upon by the Branch Secretary, posted on the Unite website and otherwise communicated to branch members at least a week before the meeting is scheduled.
1.2 Five branch members present shall form a quorum. If within half an hour of the time appointed for the meeting to commence, a quorum is not present, the meeting shall be dissolved.
1.3 The branch Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place in February of each year.
- Officers of the Branch
2.1 Officers of the branch shall include Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Equalities Officer, who shall be elected at every third AGM of the branch starting from February 2018. Where more than one member stands for election to any Officer role (with the exception of Treasurer), subject to agreement between the candidates, facilitated by the Branch Secretary, the Branch may optionally elect two candidates to share the role, wherein duties will be shared equitably and by mutual agreement. Where
possible the two candidates should be of different genders.
2.2 Ex-Officio Officers of the branch shall include a Convenor and Vice-Convenor who shall be elected by the Reps Committee at their meeting immediately following the triennial Reps elections. Post-holders of these positions can also take up any other Branch Officer post if properly elected by branch.
2.3 The Officers of the branch will constitute the Branch Executive, which will recommend decisions to branch, and make decisions on day to day issues between branch meetings. The Branch Executive will also deal with any issue that requires confidentiality.
2.4 In the absence of the elected Chair, the Vice-Chair should chair the meeting. The Secretary should not chair the meeting. In the event both Chair and Vice-Chair are absent, a branch member should be elected as ad hoc Chair for the duration of the meeting and should sign any paperwork (eg nomination forms) as such.
2.5 Delegates to represent the branch at local Trade Union Councils and Constituency Labour Parties should be elected as affiliations become due for renewal.
- Agenda and Order of Business
3.1 The Branch Secretary shall be responsible for receiving all papers and drafting the Agenda.
3.2 The Agenda for a branch meeting would usually include the following items:
- a) Apologies for absence
- b) Minutes of the previous branch meeting and matters arising
- c) Secretary’s report on recruitment and organisation, including 100% campaigns and greenfield organising
- d) Treasurer's financial report
- e) Reports from the Convenor on current reps business
- f) Other reports, eg, Trades Union Council or Constituency Labour Party
- g) Correspondence
- h) Date of next meeting
3.3 Any member may introduce other business for the consideration of the meeting but must notify the secretary in advance.
3.4 The branch secretary shall be responsible for the taking of Minutes of the branch meeting.
- Conduct of Business
4.1 The Chair shall be responsible for the conduct of the meeting. Members may only speak when called by the Chair. The Chair shall have discretion on whether to allow a member to speak more than once on a subject.
4.2 The Chair shall have the same speaking rights as any other member. In addition, the Chair may intervene during or at the conclusion of any discussion, to clarify the issues decided and/or to sum up the discussion.
4.3 A member who wishes to raise a point of order (which must be confined to the manner in which the meeting is being conducted) should say “point of order” and hold his/her hand aloft until called by the Chair. Subject to that exception, members should not interrupt another speaker.
4.4 The ruling of the Chair on any question relating to the conduct of the meeting shall be final unless a challenge to the Chair is supported by at least two thirds of the members present.
4.5 Save as provided herein, the business of the Branch shall be conducted in accordance with the normal rules of debate as laid down by Walter Citrine in the ABC of Chairmanship.
4.6 The Chair has the same vote as any other member, there is no “casting vote”. In the event of an equality of votes, the proposition before the Branch shall not be carried.
4.7 Any motion other than a challenge to the Chair, or a change to Standing Orders, shall be carried with the support of a simple majority of members present.
- Branch Finances
5.1 The branch will keep a single Unity Trust Bank account in the name of the branch and will maintain a financial record of all assets and transactions.
5.2 Branch will receive funds monthly from Unite.
5.3 There will be three signatories for the bank account. All transactions will require two signatures. The three signatories will be the Branch Treasurer, Branch Secretary, and Branch Chair. If the Treasurer and Secretary posts are held by the same person the Vice-Chair will be the third signatory.
5.4 The Branch Treasurer will make a report on finances at each monthly Branch Meeting. Any proposed expenditure will be discussed and agreed or denied.
5.5 The Branch Treasurer will make available a copy – with any confidential information redacted - of the branch ledger to any member who wishes to examine it in detail.
5.6 The Branch Treasurer will prepare quarterly financial returns for review by Unite finance department.
5.7 Branch expenditure must be to the benefit of its members, including but not limited to:
- Payment of Union Contributions for members unable to pay through hardship
- Donations to appeals authorised by Unite
- Floral tributes in respect of hospitalisation or bereavement
- Provision for organising or recruitment of new members
- General branch operation expenses
- Provision of materials and services required to maintain the running of the Branch Office
- Payments for rents of premises for Branch meetings or events
- Payment of postage
- Affiliations to bodies or for subscriptions to publications in line with Unite policy
- Expenses incurred by representatives in the course of their duties
- Charitable donations
5.8 Branch will typically vote on expenditure other than reasonable expenses incurred by elected representatives in the course of their duties – which will be paid at the discretion of the Branch Treasurer upon production of a valid receipt.
5.9 The branch treasurer may, between meetings, approve individual expenditure of up to £200 – and in exceptional circumstances up to £500 – with the agreement of the other account signatories; however this decision must subsequently be ratified at the next branch meeting
5.10 Any financial decision regarding sensitive or confidential topics, such as payment of contributions during hardship - will be made by the Branch Executive, with the expense reported to the Branch Meeting minus any personal identifiable details.
5.11 This branch will not pay honoraria to any member, representative, or officer of the branch. Committee members and representatives operate in an entirely voluntary capacity.
- Elected Representatives
6.1 This branch will elect representatives in line with the Unite Rule Book and guidance from the National Executive Committee.
6.2 This branch will hold branch representatives meetings, known as the Reps Committee, typically once a month. All elected members (Branch officers, shop stewards/workplace reps, safety reps, equality reps, learning reps) will be invited. There may also be separate regular meetings for particular groups of reps, such as safety reps or shop stewards, the discussions and outcomes of which may feed into the wider Reps Committee meetings.
6.3 This Reps Committee will elect from their number two lead reps, known as the Convenor and Vice-Convenor, to lead consultations and negotiations. These will be elected on a three year term from the first reps meeting following the rep election cycle. The lead reps will share the designated Facility Time between them equally.
6.4 This branch expects that all elected representatives and officers will conduct themselves in line with the values of Unite the Union, and the wider Trade Union movement
6.5 This branch further expects all elected representatives and officers to carry out their duties, take part in necessary or desired training, and stay in communication with the Branch Executive. Elected representatives shall be entitled to time off for Union Duties as designated under law and the University Trade Union Recognition Agreement.
6.6 This branch and the Branch Executive will offer their full support to elected representatives and officers to help them carry out their duties, secure time off for training, and any fulfil any other obligation that comes with the role. We will also defend any member who is victimised due to their trade union membership or duties.
6.7 Any cases where representatives or officers fall short of the expected standards will be reported to the Branch Secretary to investigate. The Branch Executive will discuss the outcome and decide on appropriate action. Appropriate action ranges from offering additional support, guidance, and training, to the potential deselection as a representative of the member in question
- Changes to Standing Orders
7.1 Branch Standing Orders may only be changed at a properly convened AGM.
7.2 Any proposed changes must be sent to the Branch Secretary no later than 2 weeks ahead of the AGM. The proposals must be formally proposed, and seconded.
7.3 In order to allow adequate consideration, the Branch Secretary must send out to members the proposed changes no later than 1 week ahead of the AGM.
7.4 Any vote to change Branch Standing Orders will only pass if supported by at least two thirds of members present
Last amended: Section 1.1 at the 2019 AGM