Redesigning the CWU – we’re under way

Union Matters

Branches and regions were the first topics for debate as the CWU’s big Redesign conference got under way in Bournemouth this morning.

Welcoming everyone to the event, CWU president Beryl Shepherd said that this was “a pivotal moment in the history of our union” and urged delegates to “have the courage to make change and the wisdom tk know that it’s necessary.”

In his opening speech, general secretary Dave Ward reminded the assembled audience of the pressing need for the union to “make changes if we want to continue being a great union.”

While the CWU is faced with the challenge of making economies, this was not a strategy of managed decline, but a means of unlocking new investment in key areas, he explained and told conference that this was aimed at “building a stronger union.

“Have a good conference and let’s get down to business,” he concluded.

And the hundreds of delegates, from all around the country did just that, dealing with six separate motions from the ‘Branches’ section of the agenda, before moving onto the 10 propositions covering ‘Regions’.

A total of 48 different speakers came to the rostrum during the debates – with contributions coming from every part of the UK and indicating the seriousness with which the Redesign programme is being taken at all levels of the CWU.

Branch finance was the first item of the day,  an issue about which there had been many differing opinions voiced during the run-up to the conference – and this morning’s sessions approved a compromise proposal which struck a balance between the needs of the union at both local and national level.

And a new initiative, called ’14 measures of success’ was also endorsed by delegates – along with assurances that struggling branches will receive the assistance they need.

Our regional systems are set to change as well – with conference approving a set of measures all aimed making sure the CWU can operate on a ‘one-union’ basis in all of its non-industrial work.

This afternoon, conference will be focussing on ‘Equality’ and ‘National Structures’.