Usdaw is a union with 205,672 women members and women make up 58% of the total membership. I believe one of the key weaknesses in Usdaw is the lack of women in the key leadership positions. All the four Central Officials are men and the president is a man. Importantly in the Divisions: the seven Divisional Officers are men, the seven Deputy Divisional Officers are men, there are 92 Area Organisers and only 30 are women, and of the 7 RDO’s left six are women. In the Divisions, there are now 77 men and 36 women making a total 113 officials.
The situation is not improving. In the 2001 Annual Report there was a total of 117 officials working in the Divisions of these 81 were men and 36 were women. I am sure you can work out the record of the Usdaw leadership on supporting women in Usdaw.
Usdaw on a weekly basis is run by four men – the Central Officials. A male only cabal is not an effective way to run a modern day trade union. When elected, I will change the composition of the Central Officer’s weekly meeting to ensure that there is an equal number of women to men plus the general secretary.
One of the barriers to involve our women members in the higher positions of the union is that they are not allowed to job share. As the general secretary, I will investigate and introduce a method that will allow all the members of our union to apply for positions within the union.
(Candidate for Usdaw General Secretary)