Nautilus adopts campaigns priorities at UK Branch Conference
15 December 2022
As the Nautilus UK Branch Conference got down to business in November 2022, members voted unanimously in favour of the motions on 'fair ferries', an end to the Offshore Wind Workers Concession, and to defend the right to strike. Sarah Robinson reports
Most readers will be familiar with the concept of an AGM (annual general meeting) – a legal requirement for organisations to convene a meeting annually to report to members or shareholders on their activities and give opportunities for questions and votes.
In the case of the Nautilus International UK Branch Conference, the requirement is for an official meeting held every two years, but the business of the event is along the same lines as an AGM.
In 2020, the Covid pandemic meant that the UK branch conference had to be held in a stripped-back format online, but November 2022 saw members returning to a well-attended in-person event, held at the SS Great Britain museum in Bristol.
The main conference day was 23 November, with the 'business' meeting in the morning and a symposium in the afternoon. The morning session was quorate – meaning enough full members of Nautilus were in attendance to satisfy legal requirements – and the main business was split into two parts: the UK Branch Conference Report and the motions.
Leading the business from the podium was Iain MacKenzie, the chair of the Nautilus UK Branch Committee, which is the governing body for the Union's work in the UK and is made up of elected Nautilus Council members. Alongside was Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson.
UK Branch Conference Report
As at a company AGM, the Nautilus secretariat (staff) and governing body have to report to members on the Union's activities carried out on their behalf. The 2022 UK Branch Conference Report details Nautilus's work in the UK since 2020, and is available for all members to read by logging into the My Nautilus section of this website.
If you are thinking that this report sounds like it would be very dry, think again! Highlights include the impressive amount of recent UK legislation that Nautilus has been able to influence for the better, and the full story of how the Union battled with P&O Ferries for two years to solve the looming problems at the company before new CEO Peter Hebblethwaite threw all this effort away at a stroke in March 2022.
At the conference, the various sections of the report were introduced in short presentations by department leaders, and a snapshot of what they said is in the photo panels. After the presentations, the Nautilus members voted unanimously in favour of adopting the report.
Motions are proposals for policies that members want to be adopted by their Union. A motion needs a 'proposer' and a 'seconder', and if a majority of members at a quorate meeting vote in favour, then it becomes a 'resolution', i.e. official Union policy.
The three motions at the UK Branch Conference were:
Fair ferries in UK waters – proposed by Iain MacKenzie and seconded by Stephen Gudgeon
Defend the right to strike – proposed by Malcolm Graves and seconded by Alexander Day
An end to the Offshore Wind Workers Concession – proposed by Catherine Casement and seconded by Willie Jackson
A snapshot of what the proposers and seconders said is given in the photo panels, and Nautilus members can read the full text of the motions by logging into the My Nautilus section of www.nautilusint.org. Members at the conference voted unanimously in favour of the motions, which have therefore now become policy for the Nautilus UK Branch.