An inside look at our NEC

20 September 2013

Chris HandUnder our rules, the Chair of the National Youth Committee attends National Executive Council meetings on a non-voting basis. New Youth Chair Chris Hand, from the Greater Manchester Amal branch, reports on his first NEC meeting that took place earlier this week.

Today I had the privilege of seeing our union at work from the top at aNECmeeting. Most people will only see the NEC at conference or when its bad news, but I have seen the NEC in a different light and the amount of work they take on and are involved in is a lot. From representing us directly or as our representatives on outside bodies ( for example Andy Kerr is on the Labour Party NEC, and Billy Hayes and Tony Kearns are both on the TUC General Council). Other members are also on panels such as local councils and they do this so we have an influence and our voices are heard. I think it is important that we fill these spaces as the likes of me and you are the best people to represent people like us. It was also a good opportunity to put faces to names, and everyone made me feel very welcome.

The meeting started off with a presentation from Cat Hobbs, on Public ownership and the campaign for a Public Service Users Bill. She represented a pressure group “We Own It” – I would advise people to take a look at their website ( and consider signing up to their movement to win the fight against privatisation of companies that are in public ownership, and even try to win them back. One of Cat’s sayings was “public ownership equals acting in the public’s best interest!-privatised business equals profit at any cost!” It’s so true – and the statistics prove it – that’s why the fight against privatisation is important.

In the NEC meetings nothing is taken lightly and something you may deem as trivial could be debated for hours because of the bigger impact on us as members. But every debate is concerned with what is in our (the members) best interests. It was good to see those we have elected always bearing this in mind.

I was particularly struck by how no decision is straightforward. There could be a number of things in the way of us doing what we want or what seems right. For example you have to make sure that we are not only within the union’s rules, but that also affordable and legal! It’s crazy to see how thought-out each intricate detail has to be.

I left the meeting with a much better understanding of how the NEC works, and how decisions are made. It is a lot more detailed than I thought, but it has made me want to find out even more about how our union works and what more we can do on behalf of our members.