RULE BOOK - Communication Workers Union

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RULE BOOKUPDATED MAY 2019

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGERULE 1Name2RULE 2Objectives3RULE 3Membership4RULE 4Members Entitlements and Obligations5RULE 5Structure8RULE 6Branches9RULE 7Regional Structure15RULE 8National Organisation19RULE 9Officers26RULE 10Conferences30RULE 11Finance39RULE 12Political Fund42RULE 13Industrial Action50RULE 14Dispute Resolution51RULE 15Alteration of Rules53RULE 16Amalgamation55-1 -

Rule 1Name1.The name of the Union shall be the Communication Workers Union (CWU).2.The name Communication Workers Union or the initials, or logo of the Union shall notbe used in the title or description of any other organisation or publication without theauthority of the National Executive Council (NEC).-2 -

Rule 21.ObjectivesThe objectives of the Union shall be:1.To unite and organise all those entitled to be members. To protect and promotemembers’ interests and maintain and improve their working lives;2.To regulate the relations between members and their employers, and betweenmembers;3.To secure the greatest possible measure of effective participation by the Unionand its members in all decisions affecting their working lives as determined bythese Rules;4.To actively oppose all forms of discrimination based on race, creed, religion, age,political affiliation, disability, marital status, sex or sexual or gender orientation inindustry, the Union and society in general. To this end the CWU shall activelyoppose any organisation, political or otherwise, whose aims are racist or fascist;5.To promote and encourage proportionality and fair representation of allmembers, in industry, the Union and society in general;6.To actively identify any cause or barrier that prevents the Union being fullyrepresentative of its members. This shall include positive action in favour ofwomen and race minorities until such time as the Union is satisfied that itsstructure reflects and supports the gender and racial balance of the members itrepresents;7.To promote, organise and facilitate access to adult education to enable membersto advance their skills for life;8.To further these objects by political means, including, where appropriate by useof its Political Fund;9.To affiliate to and participate in such organisations as General Conference or theNEC decide are in the interests of the members. NEC decisions shall be subjectto ratification by the subsequent General Conference.-3 -

Rule 31.Membership1.2.3.MembershipUnion membership shall include:a)All relevant persons in the wider communications, financial services,information technology and related industries and in all businesses wherethe Union has recognition;b)Retired Members i.e. members who have formally retired who will have theright to retain membership of the branch with whom they completed thegreater part of their service.c)Officers of the Union and groups or persons as the NEC may, from time totime, determine.Admission1.Each applicant for membership shall complete an application form, which shallthen be forwarded, normally by the Branch, to the Head Office of the Union.2.Members applying for retired membership must submit their application formwithin 26 weeks of retiring.3.Each completed application form shall contain a declaration signed by theapplicant that they accept the conditions of membership.4.The acceptance of an application for membership by the NEC shall confer uponeach member all the rights and privileges of the Union. However, no membershall be entitled to retrospective benefits or services.Appointment of Assurer for Membership Records1.In accordance with section 24 of the Trade Union and Labour RelationsConsolidation Act 1992 (TULRCA) the union is required to appoint anIndependent Assurer to examine the membership records of CWU. The assurershall not be removed from office except by a resolution passed at the AnnualConference of its members, or of delegates of its members.2.The assurer duly appointed should assess the membership records of the CWUand shall be re-appointed as assurer for the following accounting period, unless aresolution has been passed at the Annual Conference of the Union appointing adifferent assurer, or the assurer has expressed that they shall not be reappointed, or they have given notice to the Trade Union in writing of theirunwillingness to be re-appointed, or they are ineligible for re-appointment, or theyhave ceased to act as an assurer by reasons of incapacity.-4 -

Rule 41.Members Entitlementsand ObligationsMembers of the Union are entitled to:1.be treated with respect and courtesy by Union staff, officials and members;2.seek local assistance and advice from their Branch on any work related problemand, where appropriate, to be represented by the Union before their employerand in agreed circumstances before external bodies;3.have appropriate matters raised with the Union dealt with promptly andefficiently.4.attend and take an active part in the Branch Annual General Meeting and allother appropriate membership meetings pertaining to their place of work;5.stand for Union office in accordance with the Rules and Branch Constitution;6.vote in all national and local elections in accordance with the Rules and BranchConstitution;7.receive appropriate benefits and as negotiated by the Union either nationally orlocally and appropriate legal services at the discretion of the NEC in accordancewith published procedures;8.apply for assistance from the National Welfare Fund and/or, where such exists,local Welfare Fund;9.receive a copy of the Union journal;10. receive a national certificate of recognition upon completion of twenty-five yearscontinuous membership in accordance with published procedures;11. receive a death benefit consisting of a payment to the spouse, next of kin, orother legal assignee, in the sum of 546 should the member die whilst inmembership of the Union, and this to be increased each year on 1 Octobercommencing in 1992 based on the average Retail Prices Index and AverageEarnings Index, the averaged out increase to be applied, and it shall be theresponsibility of the NEC that these provisions are implemented.2.Members are obliged to:1.treat Union staff, officials and members with respect and courtesy;2.support and promote the Union’s objectives;3.promote the CWU’s role in the workplace;-5 -

3.4.take an active part in the Union’s decision making processes;5.respect the Union’s democratic processes and decisions;6.inform the Union of changes to their membership details;7.ensure their Union subscriptions are kept up to date.Union Awards1.2.3.Branch Honorary Membershipa)This may be conferred upon ex-Branch members no longer eligible for fullmembership who have rendered distinguished service to the Branch.b)It may also be conferred upon a National Officer of the Union provided suchan Officer has been a member of and rendered distinguished service to theBranch.c)To secure election as a Branch Honorary Member, the nominee mustreceive a majority of two-thirds of those voting at a Branch meeting.Regional Honorary Membershipa)This may be conferred upon ex-members no longer eligible for fullmembership who have rendered distinguished service within the Region.b)It may also be conferred upon a National Officer of the Union provided suchan Officer has been a member of and rendered distinguished service to theRegional Committee.c)To secure election as a Regional Honorary Member, the nominee mustreceive a majority of two-thirds of those voting at a Regional Committeemeeting.National Honorary Membershipa)This may be conferred upon ex-members no longer eligible for fullmembership or others who have not been eligible for full membership whohave rendered distinguished service to the trade union movement atnational level over a period of years.b)Nominations may be made by a Branch or the NEC not later than 31December. Nominations must be approved by a two thirds majority of theNEC members present.c)The names of approved nominees shall be submitted to the subsequentGeneral Conference for endorsement.-6 -

4.5.Union Gold Badgea)A Branch may apply to the NEC for this award to a Branch member,enclosing the service record and supporting case.b)The NEC at its absolute discretion may make an award in recognition ofexceptional, long and/or meritorious service to the Union.c)The NEC shall have the authority to award this to members of Head Officestaff and honoured guests of the Union considered to have made ameritorious contribution to the well being of the trade union and labourmovement either nationally or internationally.These awards shall be governed by regulations issued by the NEC.-7 -

Rule 51.StructureThe Union shall consist of:1.Members;2.Branches;3.Regional Committees;4.Industrial co-ordinating structures;5.NEC;6.Industrial Executives;7.Constituencies;8.Officers and their staff.-8 -

Rule 61.General1.The Union shall be divided into Branches constituted under the authority of theNEC and subject to the Branch Model Constitution. In exercising this authoritythe NEC shall have regard to the CWU Branch measures of success approvedby the NEC, local circumstances, members’ wishes and the requirement for anefficient, financially viable organisation.2.The objectives of each Branch shall be to:3.2.3.Branchesa)comply with the Branch Model Constitution and authorised variations;b)locally organise, recruit and maximise membership levels;c)protect and promote the interests of members in accordance with theObjectives and Rules;d)keep members informed on local and national matters;e)effectively consult members on local issues affecting their work;f)implement the policies and directives of the NEC and its IndustrialExecutives.Where a Branch fails to fulfil its obligations in respect of organising and recruitingin any area, business or business division, the NEC may, either directly or via theIndustrial Executives, consider allocating organising and recruiting rights, togetherwith any existing members, to an alternative Branch.Branch Members1.Each member shall belong to a Branch. In the event of any dispute the NECshall determine the appropriate Branch.2.Each member is entitled to representation. Where a conflict of interests arises,the Branch shall inform the NEC and seek representation to resolve the conflict.Branch Constitution1.All Branches shall operate according to the Model Branch Constitution that shallset minimum standards for every Branch. The NEC shall be responsible forpublishing the Model Branch Constitution and ensuring its adherence. TheModel Branch Constitution shall be mandatory.2.The Branch Constitution may be varied subject to agreement by the Branch andapproval of the NEC.-9 -

3.4.The Model Branch Constitution shall be subject to amendment by motion toGeneral Conference. Any such motion shall require a two-thirds majority to becarried.Branch Organisation1.Each Branch shall hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) by no later than 31March of each year.2.Each Branch shall elect not less than eight Branch Officers and eight otherBranch Committee members. The Branch Officers are; ChairSecretaryTreasurerEquality OfficerWomen’s OfficerBAME OfficerYoung Workers OfficerPolitical OfficerBranch Officers should, where possible, not hold more than one of these posts atany one time and the Women’s Officer shall be a woman. The BranchCommittee (Officers and Lay members) shall fulfil the roles and responsibilitiesdetailed in the Branch constitution.3.Between AGM’s each Branch shall hold regular Branch Committee ormembership meetings for the effective governance of the Branch.4.A Branch shall not instruct or permit any Branch Officer to act in a mannercontrary to the Rules and Objectives or prevent them from acting in accordancewith the Rules and Objectives of the Union.5.Each Branch shall maintain accurate and up-to-date membership records.6.Each Branch may affiliate to and participate in the appropriate local Trade UnionCouncils, Labour Parties and other organisations to which the Union is affiliatednationally. However, a Branch shall not support or participate in any otherorganisation without prior consent of the NEC.7.Branches may communicate directly with other Branches of the Union, but shallnot directly communicate with lay members of another Branch.8.Branches are responsible for promoting the interests of their retired membersand for engaging with their retired members to actively involve them in dealingwith these issues, accordingly Branches shall establish a Retired Memberssection to ensure that the interests of their retired members are protected andpromoted. The Retired Members section shall be entitled to elect a sectioncommittee which shall be responsible for engaging positively with members ofthe section to actively involve them in pursuing their interests and issues.-10 -

One position on the Branch committee will be reserved for a representative fromthe Retired Members section, elected by and from the members of that section.That individual shall be entitled to attend Branch committee meetings to ensurethat retired member’s issues are raised and discussed at this level. Such arepresentative shall not be entitled to vote on any industrial/occupational issuesat these meetings.5.6.7.Equality1.Each Branch within its area shall ensure fair representation of all members, interms of race, creed, religion, age, political affiliation, disability, marital status,sex or sexual or gender orientation.2.Each Branch shall strive to ensure proportionality in Branch organisation andleadership.Constituency Sections1.Where a Branch has members in more than one Constituency, as defined in theRules, it shall establish Constituency Sections.2.A Constituency Section shall have autonomy to deal with matters specific to themembers of the Section.3.A Constituency Section shall be officered by a Secretary and Chair elected byand taken from its members. The Secretary of a Constituency shall, as aminimum, be an Assistant Secretary of the Branch.4.A Branch must ensure that each Constituency Section is granted a fair share ofBranch resources and, where applicable, facilities. All Constituency Sectionshave the right to be represented at Annual Conference.5.At every session of the Union’s Conference, upon the determination ofoccupational and constitutional issues, a Branch with Constituency Sectionsmay, where a common Branch policy cannot be agreed, divide its votes,including card votes, on a Constituency basis.6.Single Constituency Branches and Constituencies within a Branch shall haveauthority to form such business and divisional sections as are required to meetoccupational needs.Branch Mergers1.The procedure to be followed when Branches wish to merge shall be as follows:a)Branches shall notify each of their respective members of the intention toconsider the matter at a specially convened meeting of the Branch;b)Branches shall notify the General Secretary in writing of their intention;c)The GS shall bring the matter to the attention of the NEC, which shall at itsdiscretion authorise the following merger procedure to commence:-11 -

8.i)Branches shall hold, in each Branch wishing to merge, an individualmembership ballot on the question. All members of the Branchesconcerned shall be notified of the ballot, and timetable governing it,and shall be given the opportunity to vote;ii)The merger shall proceed if a majority of those participating in eachBranch ballot vote in favour.Branch Finance1.The Branch financial year shall be from 1 January to 31 December. EachBranch shall prepare annual balances, including a bank statement certifying thebalance in hand of every account held by the Branch, which shall be submitted toCWU HQ Finance Department by no later than 28 February each year, unlessCWU HQ gives notice of an alternative date. All financial vouchers shall beretained for at least two years from the date of the year-end concerned.Statements of account, bank statements and balance sheets shall be retained forat least seven years.2.Every year each Branch shall produce a financial plan for the following year,which shall:a)be agreed by the Branch Committee, published to members and lodged asa record at CWU HQ Finance Department;b)show expected income based on membership figures at the time the plan isagreed by the Branch;c)include detailed planned expenditure, following the principle that suchexpenditure shall not exceed income;d)allocate sufficient funds to cover the provision of childcare costs whereactivists attend CWU meetings, training events, briefings etc.e)allocate sufficient funds to ensure Branch representation and participation atEquality conferences and events.f)identify the purpose of any annual surplus and the intention to use it onbehalf of the members;g)be reported on, against performance to date, to each Branch Committeemeeting.3.Separate and distinct accounts shall be kept for each scheme or fund for whichthe Branch is responsible e.g. General Account, Savings Account, Welfare Fund,Political Fund, etc.4.Each Branch shall keep proper accounting records compatible with CWU HQFinance Department systems.5.Each Branch shall maintain a register of property and equipment showing costand date of purchase, and retain all receipts for such until disposal of the property-12 -

or equipment.All property purchased through the use of membershipsubscriptions shall remain the property of the CWU.6.At least two signatures shall be required for withdrawals from any account held inthe Branch name.7.A current statement of Branch accounts, including all relevant books andsupporting vouchers, shall be presented for inspection and approval at eachBranch Committee meeting and shall then be signed by the Branch Chair andSecretary.8.Branch Auditors9.a)The Branch AGM shall elect two Branch Auditors who shall not be BranchOfficers or Branch Committee members. Their names shall be circulated tomembers and notified to CWU HQ Finance Department upon their election.b)The Auditors shall examine and audit all Branch Accounts to ensureaccuracy and shall have the right to examine and question the BranchFinances, financial policy, income and expenditure on behalf of the laymembership. All vouchers, receipts, bank statements, documents, accountsbooks, remittance forms and ledgers shall be examined to verify accuracy orotherwise. Auditors shall also verify all cash at the bank and shall satisfythemselves that all Branch income and expenditure is accounted for.c)The Branch Auditors shall produce a signed statement to Branch membersand copy it to CWU HQ Finance Department declaring they have executedtheir responsibilities.CWU HQ Finance Department, on the advice of the CWU national charteredaccountants, shall be responsible for and fund the annual auditing of as manyBranch accounts as is deemed necessary.10. Branches shall not use chartered accountants unless authorised in writing by theSDGS; such accountants shall be appointed by CWU HQ Finance Department.11. The SDGS or appointed representative shall have the right to examine, ondemand, all records of accounts and bank statements and attend Branchmeetings to take part in any debate or discussion on the Branch Accounts.12. To ensure reimbursement Branch claims due to be met by CWU HQ must beforwarded within 3 months of the activity. CWU HQ shall notify all Branches ofthe year-end cut-off date for such claims.13. Each Branch may allocate up to 5% of rebate income for the remuneration of theirofficials. The individual amounts to be paid shall be determined by the AGM.14. Each Branch may establish a Welfare Fund by the transfer of not more than 5%of rebate income in each year. The Fund shall be used for giving financial and/orother assistance to members in appropriate circumstances. A Welfare Fundshall be administered by Trustees elected at the AGM in accordance withRegulations approved by the NEC.-13 -

15. When a Branch is closed all funds and financial documents shall be forwarded tothe SDGS. All asse

RULE BOOK UPDATED MAY 2019-1 - TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE RULE 1 Name 2 RULE 2 Objectives 3 RULE 3 Membership 4 RULE 4 Members Entitlements and Obligations 5 RULE 5 Structure 8 RULE 6 Branches 9 RULE 7 Regional Structure 15 RULE 8 National Organisation 19 RULE 9 Officers 26 .

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