UCU Newcastle University Branch – Rules

The following rules were agreed by members at the NUCU AGM on 13 June 2008
University and College Union [UCU]
Newcastle University Branch [NUB]
Local Rules
(NB. all references to days refer to calendar days and not working days)

1    NAME
The name of the Branch is “Newcastle University Branch of the University and College Union”, subsequently referred to as ‘the branch’ and abbreviated NUB.

2     CONSTITUTION
NUB is constituted in accordance with the current rules of the University and College Union, subsequently referred to as UCU.

3    AIMS
3.1    The aims and objects of NUB are the same as those of UCU, set out in national rule 2, except that they exclude the political objects of UCU referred to in national rule 2.6. NUB may discuss UCU’s political objects and may act to further these provided that no funds of NUB are spent on those political objects.

3.2     All actions taken by NUB shall be consistent with the national Rules of UCU. In particular,

3.2.1     To protect and promote the professional interests of members individually and collectively, to regulate the conditions of their employment and the relations between them and their employers, and to safeguard their interests.

3.2.2     To promote adult, further and higher education and research;

3.2.3     To promote equality for all.

3.2.4     To oppose actively all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination.

3.2.5     NUB may also discuss the furtherance by the UCU of political objects and may act in furtherance thereof provided that no funds of the NUB are expended for those political objects.

4    MEMBERSHIP
4.1    Members of NUB shall be those assigned to NUB in accordance with national Rule 12. Normally, this will include all UCU members for whom Newcastle University is their principal qualifying employment, but may also include retired members who were formerly employed by Newcastle University, and members who are employed by more than one institution including Newcastle University, who are entitled to belong to more than one branch in accordance with 4.2 below.

4.2    In accordance with national Rule 12.2, members who are employed at Newcastle University but who have been assigned to a different Branch may attend meetings, and vote on matters concerned with their employment, at this Branch. They are eligible for membership of the committee of NUB, but may stand for election as a local officer only in their designated Branch. In relation to national office and national elections, they shall be entitled to stand for office and vote in national elections only in their designated Branch. “National elections” includes all elections for General Secretary, Officers, Trustees, National Executive Committee [NEC] representatives and Congress delegates.

4.3    Retired members whose last employment was in Newcastle University may choose to be retired members of NUB or Central Group.

5    SUBSCRIPTIONS
5.1    Each member of NUB will pay, in accordance with procedures determined by the NEC, a subscription to the funds of UCU consisting of the current national subscription as determined by the NEC, and any current local subscription agreed by NUB.

5.2    The local subscription bands will be approved by a decision of the annual general meeting of NUB and published to all members

6    USE OF FUNDS
6.1    All expenditure by NUB must further the objects of NUB and must be approved by the NUB Committee or a General Meeting. The finances of NUB shall be conducted in accordance with arrangements determined by the National Executive Committee which shall include an audit and report prepared in accordance with instructions issued by the National Honorary Treasurer.

6.2    No funds of NUB will be used for affiliation to a political party, or for the furtherance of the union’s political objects.

6.3    The funds of NUB will be used for:

6.3.1    Costs incurred in the proper conduct of the business of NUB, as agreed by a majority of a quorate NUB Committee meeting.

6.3.2    Payment of the expenses of any members duly appointed by NUB to represent it. Payment of such expenses must be agreed by the NUB Committee. Payment of expenses to representatives of NUB shall be at the payment rates in force nationally at the time of the claim.

6.3.3    Payment of other expenses as will from time to time be determined by a majority of members present and voting at a quorate general meeting of NUB, subject to 6.1 and 6.2 above.

6.3.4    Donations to charities or other bodies whose objects are consistent with those of NUB. Donations greater than £50 must be approved by a general meeting of NUB; donations below this amount may be approved by a majority vote of a quorate meeting of the NUB Committee.

7    COMMITTEE
7.1    There shall be a committee responsible for conducting the day-to-day business of the branch. The committee will meet not less than once every four months. Not less than one third of those who are at that time members of the committee must be present to form a quorum, of which at least three shall be ordinary members and two shall be officers.

7.2    If presented with a written request signed by at least half of the members of the committee, the President must call a meeting of the committee to take place not later than 5 working days following the day on which that written request is received.

7.3    The committee will consist of:
a)    The officers as specified below and the immediate Past President
b)    Up to a total of 9 ordinary members of the committee shall be elected from members of the Branch, with elections taking place annually to fill vacancies. These committee members will take office immediately after the Annual General Meeting at which they are declared elected for a three year term. Ordinary members may be re-elected with no upper limit to the number of terms of office.
c)    Up to 3 co-opted members who will serve until the next Annual General Meeting after co-option. Co-opted members may be co-opted again for as many terms of office as the Committee sees fit. Co-option is by the Committee at a quorate meeting or by a quorate AGM.
d)    any member of the branch who is a member of the National Executive Committee of UCU.
Any committee member may resign at any time with their post being filled (if possible) at the next practicable General Meeting in accordance with the Local Branch Rule 9 (3).

7.4    Sub committees
The committee may appoint sub committees (including negotiating committees), to undertake any specific area of identified business, which will report back to the main committee meeting. Sub-committees may not commit the Branch to expenditure without agreement of the Branch Committee.

8    OFFICERS
8.1    Members will be elected to the following officer roles within the branch:
The President
The Vice Presidents (VP1, Operations and VP2, Communications)
The Treasurer
The Secretary
The Equality Officer

8.1.1    These positions will be declared elected at the appropriate Annual General Meeting from members of the branch in accordance with Rule 9.

8.1.2    Officers will be elected for a 2 year term of office and may be re-elected to the same office for a second consecutive term. Having been elected to an office for two consecutive terms they may not be elected to serve in the same office again until a further period of 2 years has elapsed.

8.2    President
The President will chair all general meetings and all committee meetings of the Branch and perform such other duties as are laid upon the President by any rule or are decided by the Committee.  In the absence of the President these duties will be performed by the Vice-Presidents (in order), failing which another officer as the Committee decides. In accordance with normal practice, the President may, between meetings of the committee, take any action on behalf of the Committee which is both urgent and necessary. Such Chair’s action must be reported for approval to the next committee meeting.

8.3    Vice-President (Operations), VP1
The Vice-President (Operations) will deputise to chair all General Meetings and all main Committee meetings of the Branch and perform such other duties to support the Officers of the Branch in its day to day business, and any other matters as decided by the Committee. The Vice-President (operations) shall have responsibility for recruitment activity and for reporting on casework issues to the committee.

8.4    Vice-President (Communications), VP2
The Vice-President (Communications) will deputise to chair all General Meetings and all main Committee meetings of the Branch in the absence of the President and VP1 and perform such other duties to support the Officers of the Branch in its day to day business, and any other matters as decided by the Committee. The Vice-President (communications) shall have responsibility for maintaining good communications with the membership, including the development of both electronic and written media.

8.5    Secretary
8.5.1    The duties of the Secretary are to call general and committee meetings of the branch; to ensure that minutes of those meetings are kept; to organise membership circulations as the Committee deems necessary; to arrange notification of local election and ballot results to all members; and to perform such other duties as are laid on the Secretary by any rule or are decided by the President or the Committee.  The Secretary shall agree an agenda for each meeting beforehand with the chair of that meeting. In the absence of the Secretary, the secretary’s duties will be performed by another officer as the Committee decides.

8.5.2    The Secretary shall be responsible for ensuring that membership records are kept at local level and that all relevant membership information is passed to the Union centrally within the time limits set and in the form required to enable statutory and rule requirements to be met.

8.6    Treasurer
8.6.1    The Treasurer has custody of the funds of the Branch and authority to make payments from them in accordance with the Rules, as the need arises. The Treasurer’s duties shall be to keep the books of the Branch; to present the accounts annually for auditing; to present these audited accounts annually to a General Meeting of the Branch; to circulate them to all members of the Branch; and to submit a copy forthwith to the Treasurer of the UCU. In the absence of the Treasurer the duties of Treasurer shall be performed by another officer as the committee shall decide.

8.6.2    No member may stand for the office of Treasurer if they have been disqualified from holding such office under legislation. Should they be disqualified whilst they are in office they must resign immediately and the post will become vacant to be filled as a casual vacancy.

8.7    Equality Officer
The Equality Officer will:
a)    have knowledge of and commitment to relevant issues.  Be willing to undertake training according to the needs of UCU, monitor the implementation of equality policies within the institution, and, where appropriate, encourage and support local negotiations on equality matters, monitor the volume and nature of personal casework which involves equality issues to ensure that the Branch has appropriate mechanisms in place for handling such cases in conjunction with the casework co-ordinator.
b)    where appropriate, provide information, encouragement and support to members about equality issues. Ensure that UCU’s national annual meetings, and any other relevant events and opportunities for women, black members, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members and disabled members are publicised locally, that members from all groups are encouraged to participate, and that the Branch maximises the opportunities for recruitment and organisation amongst all groups
c)    where appropriate, provide liaison between the Branch and UCU’s equality structures.
In the absence of the Equality Officer, these duties will be performed by another officer or officers as the committee decides.

8.8    Casual vacancies
If an office or committee position is vacant, the committee is empowered to fill the vacancy from members of the Branch. Officers and committee members so appointed will retire at the next Annual General Meeting. Alternatively, the committee may decide to call for a further election ballot to fill the vacancy until the next AGM. Any post filled in this way will not be counted as a term of office for the purpose of subsequent re-elections.

8.9    Resignations
Any officer may resign by writing to the Committee. The post should then be filled in accordance with the Casual Vacancies rule, 8.8.

9    ELECTIONS OF ORDINARY MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE AND OFFICERS
9.1    Returning Officer
The local committee will appoint a returning officer for elections who is neither a candidate for any office in the Branch nor a member of the committee.

9.2    Nominations
All nominations will be received in writing by the returning officer no later than the day that is 28 days before the day of the General Meeting.  Nominations must be accompanied by the written consent of the nominee and supported by the identifiable signatures of 2 members of the Branch. A list of all nominations / ballot paper(s) shall be circulated and made available to members of the Branch by the secretary not less than 21 days before the meeting.

9.3    Eligibility to stand for election
A member may stand for more than one post but may only be declared elected to the most senior officer or ordinary position of committee membership that they have been nominated to, in accordance with rule 10.4.

9.4    Elections
9.4.1    Subject to rule 10.4, if there is only one eligible candidate for any officer vacancy that candidate will be declared elected.

9.4.2    If the number of candidates to be ordinary members of the committee does not exceed the number of vacancies those candidates will be declared elected.

9.4.3    If there is either more than one eligible candidate for any officer vacancy or more candidates than there are vacancies of ordinary members of the committee a ballot of the members of the Branch will be conducted in accordance with rule 10.

10    CONDUCT OF BALLOTS
10.1    Unless decided otherwise by the NEC all ballots will be conducted in accordance with this rule, other than industrial action ballots which will be conducted in accordance with national rules.

10.2    If required, a ballot for officer posts will be held in accordance with 10.3. A ballot for ordinary committee members will be held in accordance with 10.3.

10.3    The Returning Officer will supervise the conduct of the ballot including the distribution of ballot forms and will fix the date and time for starting the count of the ballot. Not later than the end of the day that is fourteen days before the date fixed for counting the ballot, the ballot forms will be sent to each member of the Branch.  The ballot will be secret. Ballots will be counted in accordance with the method determined by the returning officer. Where appropriate and practicable, the single transferable vote system will be used.

10.4    When officer and committee ballots are conducted over the same time period, they will be counted in the following order: officer and other positions set out in rule 8.1, in the order in which they are set out in that rule, followed by ordinary committee members. If a person is a candidate in two or more elections over the same time period for positions that cannot be held concurrently under the rules, after the successful election of that candidate to a position, votes for that candidate will be disregarded in subsequent elections. If an existing committee member is elected to an officer post, the consequent committee vacancy may be filled at the same election if there are sufficient candidates for ordinary committee posts.

10.5    The result will be notified in writing by the Returning Officer to the Secretary and candidates.  As soon as practicable thereafter the results will be notified  by the secretary to the members of the Branch and to the General Secretary of UCU.

11    Election of Congress Representatives & Regional Delegates
11.1    Congress representatives & Regional Delegates shall be elected annually from members of the Branch, this will normally be done at the Annual General Meeting with the election being undertaken in accordance with Rules 9 and 10 of these rules. Names of the representatives will be notified to UCU in accordance with national Rules.

11.1.1    One representative to the Congress of UCU shall be either the President or the Honorary Secretary of the Branch unless they agree to offer the position up for election.

11.1.2    Resignation as a representative member of the Congress of the UCU shall be submitted in writing to the Honorary Secretary who shall forthwith inform the General Secretary of the UCU.

11.2    Casual vacancies
The Committee shall have power to fill any vacancies of Congress representatives, arising from whatever cause, that occur before the next Annual General Meeting.

12    REMOVAL FROM OFFICE
Any member of the committee (including the officers and other persons elected to represent the Branch) may be removed from office by resolution at a general meeting (including an extraordinary general meeting) of the Branch provided that
a)    the terms of any such proposed resolution are received by the  secretary not later than the day that is 21 days before the day of the general meeting and
b)    the proposal for such a resolution is supported in writing by not less than twenty five members or 25% of the membership, whichever is less.
Upon receipt of such a proposal the Secretary will send it to the members of the Branch not later than the day that is 14 days before the General Meeting at which it is to be considered. Any casual vacancies generated will be filled in accordance with rule 8.8.

13    Meetings of the Branch
13.1    There will be at least three general meetings of the Branch each year, of which one will be designated as the Annual General Meeting. The regional official shall receive notice of all general meetings. The general secretary or nominee may attend all general meetings.

13.2    Annual General Meeting
13.2.1    The Annual General Meeting will normally be held in June each year.  The Secretary will inform the membership of the Annual General Meeting not later than the day that is 42 days before the day on which the meeting is to be held. The Secretary will send to the members the agenda for the meeting not later than the day that is 14 days before the day on which the meeting is to be held.

13.2.2    The Annual General Meeting will normally receive the results of elections of the officers, committee members and Congress representatives.  It will appoint an auditor or auditors.

13.3    Other General Meetings
The Secretary will inform the membership of other General Meetings not later than the day that is 14 days before the day on which the meeting is to be held and send the members any agenda for the meeting not later than 7 days before the day on which the meeting is to be held.

13.4    Extraordinary General Meeting
An Extraordinary General Meeting of the Branch will be held either at the request of the committee, or following receipt by the Secretary of a requisition signed by at least the number of members equivalent to a quorum. Such a requisition will specify the topic or topics to be discussed. Requisitioned meetings will be arranged to take place not later than 10 working days after the day on which that requisition was received. The Secretary will inform the membership of the Extraordinary General Meeting, and of its purpose, not later than the day that is 5 working days before the day on which the meeting is to be held. The agenda for an Extraordinary General Meeting is restricted to the topic or topics stated in the request for such a meeting.

13.5    At all General Meetings, including Extraordinary General Meetings, of the Branch a quorum will be 25 members or 25% of the membership, whichever is the smaller. In any case, the quorum must be greater than the total size of the Committee.

14    Quorum arrangements for formal business
Where an Annual General Meeting, Extraordinary General Meeting or General Meeting is unable to complete items of formal business required by national or local Rules, or resulting from trade union legislation, or from membership of the TUC, or in relation to the local finances of the Branch, because the meeting was not quorate, notice of a further meeting will be circulated to members to take place no later than 14 days after the date of the inquorate meeting. The agenda of the further meeting will be restricted to this incomplete, formal business. It will be quorate if three members are in attendance, except that in respect of the local finances of the Branch, these three will not for purposes of the quorum include the Branch treasurer or its local auditors.

15    Motions
15.1    A resolution of a general meeting is a motion that has been approved while that meeting was quorate by a simple majority of members present and voting except as provided elsewhere in these rules.

15.2    Any motion (other than an emergency motion) submitted by the Branch to the congress of the UCU [or of the congress of the UCU Scotland] will be circulated to all members of the Branch at least 7 days before and approved by a quorate general meeting of the Branch.  Amendments, which may not introduce new subject matters to motions, may be taken at the discretion of the Chair.

15.3    Where a general meeting is called, and part of the business of this meeting is to approve motions for submission to the Congress of the UCU, and this meeting is inquorate, motions for submission to congress may be subsequently approved in a manner determined by the Committee and consistent with the standing orders of Congress.

15.4    Emergency motions to Congress must be submitted in accordance with the standing orders of Congress.

16   Motions to National Meetings and Committees
All motions to national equality bodies, national meetings and specialist committees of the Special Employment Interest Groups shall be submitted in accordance with national rules and standing orders and shall be approved by a properly convened meeting of members of the relevant special interest group, for which a quorum will be 5, or by a quorate general meeting or by the committee.

Note : wherever possible and appropriate to their members, branches should establish specialist interest groups paralleling the national specialist groups. Such groups should meet as required and prior to the relevant national meetings. An officer of the local committee should attend all group meetings.

17     Ratification of agreements
Any draft agreements must be ratified in accordance with regional or national ratification procedures where these exist.

18    Rules
No rule or rules of the Branch will at any time be in conflict with a rule or rules of the UCU currently in force. Changes in the rules of the UCU will, where applicable, automatically constitute changes in these rules of the Branch.

19    Amendment of rules
These rules of the Branch may be amended by resolution of any quorate General Meeting of the Branch. Proposed amendments to these rules must be handed in writing to the Secretary by the end of the day that is 14 days before the day of the General Meeting at which they are to be considered. The Secretary will take all reasonable steps to ensure that these proposed amendments are received by the members not later than the day that is 10 days before the day on which the meeting is to be held at which they are to be considered. Amendments to these rules require the support of at least two
-thirds of the members present and voting at the quorate General Meeting at which they are considered, an abstention not being regarded as a vote for this purpose.

Alternatively, these rules of the Branch may be amended by membership ballot and in that case the support of at least two-thirds of those members casting a valid vote in the ballot would be required. Either the committee or a quorate General Meeting may decide to hold such a membership ballot.

All rules of the Branch and amendments to these rules will be subject to approval by the National Executive Committee of the UCU.

20    Site Organisation
Where members of a Branch are employed on more than one site, the Branch may, for the purposes of enhancing local organisation, make arrangements for the members on any site to elect appropriate site officers to perform functions agreed by resolution of the Branch. Any such arrangements and functions must be consistent with the overriding responsibilities of the Branch and its officers as set out in these rules.

21 Communications
Ballots conducted under rule 10 will not be conducted by email. Unless specifically determined by the Branch, all other communications may be by email.

END OF DOCUMENT

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