Rule 10

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Branches and branch officials

Branches
1. A Branch of the Union shall be established only by decision of the National Executive Committee.  The National Executive Committee may disband a Branch should this be considered necessary or desirable or when the existence of a Branch is considered to be prejudicial to the interests of the Union or its members. The members of a disbanded Branch shall be transferred to one or more other Branches as may be determined by the National Executive Committee.

Transfer of members
2. Should it be agreed that the members of a Branch be transferred to another Branch of the Union, then the former Branch shall be closed and its funds and other property remitted through the General Secretary to the Branch receiving the transferred members.

Primary Role
3. The primary role and objective of each branch shall be the recruitment, retention and organisation of transport workers within its delegated sphere of influence. To achieve this objective, each branch shall create and work to implement a branch plan which will be submitted to the Regional Council.

Key Functions

Additionally, each Branch shall ensure that it plans for, and implements, its key functions of organising regular branch meetings; sending delegates to the Regional Council; participating in Regional and National Union campaigns; participating in Union nominations and elections; ensuring that the Representative structure in its spheres of influence is populated; that Representatives, Branch Officers and activists receive appropriate education, training and resources.

By-Laws

4. Each Branch may make by-laws for the government of its affairs, subject to the by-laws being approved by the General Secretary or the National Executive Committee and their being strictly consistent with the Rules of the Union.

Branch Books
5.    All books for Branch use must be obtained from Head Office. All books and stationery supplied will be charged to the Branch.

Officers and committees
5. Each Branch of the Union, shall have for its management a Chairperson, vice-Chairperson, Secretary, three Trustees, and a Committee of not less than seven members; in Branches with over 100 members there shall also be an Assistant Secretary. In addition, if considered necessary, a Treasurer, a Check Steward and Collectors may also be appointed. If considered necessary Stewards shall be appointed to assist the Secretary in important Branch business during the interval between Branch meetings.

Officers and Committees
6.    Each Branch of the Union, shall have for its management a Chairperson, a vice-Chairperson, Secretary, three Trustees, and a Committee of not less than seven members; in Branches with over 100 members there shall also be an Assistant Secretary. In addition, if considered necessary, a Treasurer, a Check Steward and Collectors may also be appointed. If considered necessary Stewards shall be appointed to assist the Secretary in important Branch business during the interval between Branch meetings. 

Officers to be contributing members

7. All Branch Officers must be contributing members to the General Fund of the Union and shall be elected at the Annual Meeting of the Branch. They shall retire at the succeeding Annual Meeting. Only members, as defined in Rule 2, Clause 1 who are not in arrears with their membership contributions as defined in Rule 2, Clause 21, shall be eligible to be elected or hold office.

Election of Officials
8.  No member shall hold two offices, except for the post of Collector and the transaction of temporary business. Candidates for office must be proposed and seconded by two members present at the meeting. The candidate who has a majority of votes shall be declared elected. All officers on retiring from office shall be eligible for re-election except as already provided for in this Clause.

Not Eligible to Hold Office
9. Members who cease to be employed by an undertaking as defined in Rule 2, Clause 1, shall not thereafter be eligible for election to office, or appointment as a delegate.

Incompetence
10.  Any Branch Officer who is incompetent, or who is held to be responsible for the maladministration of Union funds, or who fails to perform any duty arising from these Rules, or who acts contrary to the Rules and interests of the Union, shall be removed from office. A successor shall be elected by the Branch. A Branch Officer expelled from the Union shall cease to hold office; but should the expulsion be rescinded, the member would then be eligible for re-election.

Removal
11.  Any Branch Officer who has been removed from office and who fails to abide by these Rules shall be liable to prosecution and, if still a member, shall be expelled and another Officer shall be appointed to the position.

Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson
11. The Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Branch and conduct the meetings with propriety and order. The Chairperson shall sign all Minutes of the Branch and all official documents and, through the Secretary, order Special Meetings of the Branch or of the Branch Committee, when necessary, or by request of twelve members. The Head Office shall advise the Chairperson when the dues, balance sheets, and other returns are not sent in at the proper time.

12.  The Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Branch and conduct the meetings with propriety and order. The Chairperson shall sign all Minutes of the Branch and all official documents and, through the Secretary, order Special Meetings of the Branch or of the Branch Committee, when necessary, or by request of twelve members. The Head Office shall advise the Chairperson when the dues, balance sheets, and other returns are not sent in at the proper time.

13. The Vice-Chairperson shall assist the Chairperson in conducting the business of the Branch meetings, and preside in the Chairperson’s absence.

Branch Committee
14.  The Branch Committee shall, in conjunction with the Chairperson and Secretary, superintend the business of the Branch, and co-operate with the National Executive Committee in carrying out the Rules of the Union. The Secretary shall convene committee meetings as required. Five members, in addition to the Chairperson and Secretary, shall form a quorum. The Secretary shall have no vote, and the Chairperson shall only have a casting vote, but both shall have the right to speak.

Branch Secretary, Duties and responsibilities

15.  The Branch Secretary shall perform all duties imposed by these Rules and shall:

(a)  keep all Branch accounts, books and records held in a satisfactory manner;

(b)  attend all meetings, record the minutes of those meetings and conduct Branch correspondence;

(c)  forward to Head Office, within seven days after the payment of the first contribution, the application forms of accepted members, and immediately advise Head Office of all members accepted by transfer from or transferred to other Branches, as well as members paying contributions in accordance with the provisions of Clause 2 of this Rule, and Rule 23, Clauses 3 or 8;

(d)  comply with every direction by, or requirement of, the General Secretary in relation to the finances of the Union, and at all times produce on demand and, if required, deliver up to any officer of the Union nominated by the General Secretary for that purpose, all monies, books, papers and documents of the Union or Branch;

(e)  as early as practicable, but not later than 14 days after its receipt, bank, to the credit of the Branch, any money received as income to the Branch;

(f)  supply Head Office with true and accurate Balance Sheets, showing the income and expenditure of the Branch, the amount of cash in hand which should not exceed £10 and the amount deposited with the Union’s bankers for the year ending December and within 21 days of the close of each half year, transmit to the General Secretary on forms provided, a true and accurate account of the contributions collected by the Branch;

(g)  in every Balance Sheet the Branch Secretary shall give the names and addresses of the Branch meeting place, the Chairperson, Treasurer, Assistant Secretary (if any), and the Branch Trustees, and notify any change within 14 days thereof to the Head Office. A copy of the Balance Sheet shall also be rendered to Branch members. All Balance Sheets and Returns shall be forwarded by the 1st February after the close of the year.

Salary
16. A Branch Secretary shall be paid a salary equivalent to the amount allocated for Branch management purposes. On resigning, a Branch Secretary shall give one month’s notice or forfeit one month’s salary.

Management Fund
17.  For each Branch there shall be established a Branch Management Fund. 1/28th of the weekly membership contributions paid to Head Office will be allocated, provided that the minimum payment to any Branch shall be in respect of 50 members.

Branch Expenses
18. From this Fund every management expense shall be paid including remuneration of the Branch officials, Trades Councils fees, Regional Council fees, Industrial Organising Conference fees, Labour Research Department fees, propaganda work, and Branch members’ out-of-pocket expenses whilst engaged on Union activities.

Branch Trustees
19. The Branch Trustees shall be responsible for the safe keeping of any funds entrusted to their care. They shall hold such funds in accordance with the provisions of these Rules. The funds shall be deposited in a bank account opened in the name of the Union. Deposits shall always be made in the name of all the Trustees. Withdrawals from the account shall be made when sanctioned by a majority of the members present at a Branch meeting, and with the approval of the Chairperson and the Secretary, or by order of the National Executive Committee.

20. The Trustees shall forthwith pay, transfer and convey to the General Secretary on behalf of the Union’s Trustees all monies, funds, property securities and effects which by these Rules are directed to be paid or transferred to the Union Trustees.

Bank Deposits
21.  Each Branch shall, through its Trustees and in the name of the Union, deposit in the Union’s bank for the time being, the funds of the Union which it has in its possession, excepting a sum sufficient to meet the current demands (but not exceeding £10), which shall be retained by the Branch Treasurer. No portion of the Union’s funds shall be invested by any Branch in other than the Union’s bank unless the sanction of the National Executive Committee has been obtained.

Annual Balance Sheet
22. Branches shall send a copy of their Annual Balance Sheets by the 1st February following the close of the year to which it refers. Any Branch which fails or neglects to comply with these requirements shall take no part in the Union’s business, and the members of the Branch shall be suspended from benefit until the dues, monies, balance sheets, or other returns are received at Head Office.

23.  Branches and members are jointly responsible as may be determined by the National Executive Committee for the submission of the payments and financial statements as required by these Rules.

Financial Assistance
24.   Any Branch unable to meet the claims made upon it may apply to the National Executive Committee for assistance and shall send, with the application, a correct, detailed statement of its income and expenditure. The National Executive Committee shall have power to assist that Branch from the General Fund to such an extent as considered necessary, providing the statement of the Branch is satisfactory.

Auditors25.  The Branch Auditors shall carry out a complete audit of the Branch accounts at the year end. The audit shall be undertaken in time to allow the Secretary to forward the Annual Returns to Head Office by the 1st February. All relevant books and records shall be made available for the purposes of the audit, which shall include an accurate reconciliation of bank and cash balances. The audited accounts shall be laid before the next meeting of the Branch, at which the Auditors shall report to the members on their findings.

26.  The accounts of any Branch Officer leaving the Branch or the Union shall be audited as soon as possible, and all the Union’s property held shall be returned to the Branch.

Real Property

27. The legal title to all real property, whether freehold, leasehold, commonhold, or any other interest in land, belonging to or to be enjoyed by a Branch or any other Union body must be vested in the elected Union Trustees and not any other Trustee in the Union. No real property belonging to or to be enjoyed by a Branch or any other body, whether freehold, leasehold, commonhold or any other interest may be owned or otherwise enjoyed by the Branch or any other body, or by any other means.

Common Property
28.  The funds of the Branches are the common property of the Union and must only be applied for the purposes and in the manner prescribed in these Rules. Any Branch which has been disbanded shall forfeit every claim to the possession of, and its Trustees and Officers to the administration of, the funds of the Branch and, except as provided in Clause 2 of this Rule all monies, books and other property belonging to the Union held by any disbanded Branch, and all property of the Union or any Branch thereof in the possession of any member of the disbanded Branch shall be delivered to the General Secretary, together with a detailed account of all income and expenditure.

Failure to Remit Funds
29. Should any Branch fail or refuse to remit to the Union’s bank the proportion of its funds required by these Rules, or should it be known that there is any intention to apply the funds of the Branch otherwise than is provided in these Rules, then the National Executive Committee, through the General Secretary, shall take such proceedings either in a court of law or otherwise as may be necessary or deemed advisable in order to ensure that the monies deposited in the Union’s bank for the time being, or elsewhere invested in the name of such Branch, are paid to the General Secretary on behalf of the Trustee Committee for the purposes named in these Rules.

Branch Meetings
30.  A Branch meeting shall be convened by the Officers of the Branch. Each Branch shall have power to call Special Meetings when necessary for the consideration of urgent business, but no trade movement shall be entered upon without first receiving the sanction of the National Executive Committee. Such special meetings may be called by resolution of the Branch, or by the Chairperson, as provided for in Clause 12 of this Rule.

Speaking and Voting
31. Members shall have the right to speak or vote at any meetings of their own Branch but shall not have the right to vote on any business in which they are personally interested otherwise than as a member of the Union.

Admission to Meetings
32. Any member shall be able to claim admission to the meetings of any Branch or Regional Council of which not a member, on producing a membership card. Such member shall be entitled to speak, subject to Branch or Regional Council Standing Orders, but shall not vote, or propose or second motions.

Confidentiality of documents
33.  All documents received from Head Office or considered at a Branch meeting or Branch Committee shall be regarded as private and confidential, and shall not be published or otherwise disclosed without the consent of the General Secretary, or the National Executive Committee.

Circulars and Addresses

34.  In the interests of democratic openness and debate within this Union, branches and members may freely issue, recognise and freely discuss any circular or address relating to the Union in general provided that:

(a)  it does not advocate fascist or racist views or in any way contravenes the Union’s policies against discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation;

(b)  it is neither libellous nor impugns the good name of the Union and its members;

(c)  it is circulated solely within the Union for use of members only and is regarded as private and confidential and is not published or otherwise disclosed outside the Union.

Complaints
35.  Any Branch having reason to complain of the conduct of the National Executive Committee shall instruct the General Secretary to bring the case before the Annual General Meeting. Any Branch having reason to complain of the neglect of the General or Assistant General Secretaries shall do so to the National Executive Committee.

Dissatisfied Member
36.  Any member dissatisfied with a decision of their Branch can appeal to the National Executive Committee. Should the member be dissatisfied with the decisions of the National Executive Committee, there shall be an entitlement to an appeal to the Appeals Court with the exception of the disciplinary action by the National Executive Committee, whose decision shall be final. Any member lodging an appeal shall send notice thereof through the Branch to Head Office.

Appeals from Branches
37. The General Secretary shall take the necessary steps to place any appeal received on the Agenda for the National Executive Committee, Appeals Court or Annual General Meeting, whichever is appropriate. The National Executive Committee may suspend the implementation of any such decision pending the hearing of such appeal, should application be made to them for that purpose.

Branch Resolutions to the AGM

38.  Branches shall have the power to place matters before the Annual General Meeting via a resolution of the branch and submitting the matter as per Rule 3.

Branch Resolutions to the National Executive Committee

39.  Branches shall have the right to place matters before the National Executive Committee as long as the matter does not affect the whole Union.