The election for the NEC of UNISON is underway. This is the largest election within UNISON that takes place every two years, where the whole union, every member, takes part in electing the most senior body of activists in the union.
What is happening, when and why is voter turnout important? Here’s our guide to everything you need to know.
Why is this happening?
The National Executive Council (NEC) is elected by our members every two years. The election timetable and procedures were agreed and published by the union’s NEC at the end of last year.
Who is eligible to vote?
All full members who were on the union’s membership register as of 17 January 2023, will be entitled to vote in this election. As this is statutory ballot, governed by the law, voting can only be done by a ballot paper sent to the members home address.
When is it happening?
The candidate application and nominating periods have already taken place. Your branch will have had the chance to nominate candidates to seats representing your region, service group (health, higher education etc) and to the reserved Black member, Disabled member and Young member seats.
The member ballot will open on 17 April when ballot papers will be sent to members home addresses closes on 19 May. The results will be announced on 08 June.
Who is running the election?
UNISON’s Member Liaison Unit runs the election. Civica Election Services (CES) is the returning officer and the independent scrutineer.
Why is this election important?
UNISON is run for and by its members through its democratic and lay structures.
All of our elections are important, as they allow the union to function in the best interests of our members. The NEC is the senior governing body of the union, elected by members to represent their interests in how the union is run
Does it matter how many people vote?
The NEC that members elect will make decisions about the future of our union and these decisions will directly affect our members. So it’s important that as many members as possible have their say, so that the group that guides the work of the union is as representative of the whole union membership as possible and does not overly represent the views or interests of some members over those of others.
What can activists do?
As an activist, you have a responsibility to encourage participation in all of our democratic processes, including our NEC elections – this is not about supporting particular candidates, but providing general information about the ballot, when it opens, why it matters and encouraging members to vote.
The more people that vote, the better reflective the NEC will be of our democracy, and the better the union can serve our members.
What can’t I do?
You cannot promote any particular candidate(s). There are strict rules to ensure that UNISON branches or other nominating bodies don’t use any funds, property or resources to campaign for any particular candidate in the election.
The only exception to this is if a nominating body (your branch) has nominated a candidate. In this case, you can advise your members of this nomination via your usual channel(s) of communications.
Is there any support?
As usual, there is a ballot helpline. The helpline will open on 25 April and close on 15 May. Phone: 0800 0 857 857. Text phone: 0800 0 967 968.
The article Democracy in action, not just lip service – help run this union first appeared on the UNISON National site.