RCN leadership is ‘disregarding the concerns of members’, claim EGM petitioners

The petitioners claim they are yet to hold any “formal discussions” and the union has postponed meetings at short notice. 

James McKay
17 September 2020
RCN Strike

An EGM was called after two presidential candidates were disqualified.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has been accused of “disregarding the concerns of members” by the authors of a petition calling for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM).

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Over a thousand RCN members signed a petition calling for an EGM after two presidential candidates were disqualified for allegedly using the unions’ social media resources to campaign.

The petitioners claim they are yet to hold any “formal discussions”, the union has postponed meetings at short notice and has issued statements without consultation.

A joint statement from the original petitioners reads; “Despite our approaches, we have had no formal discussions with RCN Council to date. We have offered a meeting but this was postponed by Council at short notice. There has been no collaboration and, while we aim for a co-produced process, it is extremely disappointing that RCN Council and the Executive have put out statements on the progression of an EGM without consultation, discussion or regard.

“Our aim is for a member-led EGM to bring about the changes required. The signatories of the petition made a clear resolution in a format that could be voted on by members. There is a clear need for Council to support members who elected them with a mandate for significant change; we find it bizarre that Council and the Executive would attempt to push ahead with their own meeting and, while there may be significant areas of agreement, there is a disturbing precedent set where the agenda is being taken away from those who raised the issue in the first place. The approach taken now is at significant odds with how previous meetings were organised.

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“The abrupt change in the election policy has highlighted the governance failure at the root of our challenge; Council has clearly acknowledged that the election policy was badly worded, badly interpreted and the process significantly flawed.

“It has been over a fortnight since the EGM requisition was formally submitted. We have maintained a respectful silence in anticipation of negotiations but it is clear to us that Council and the Executive wish to press ahead disregarding the concerns of members, as highlighted in the email from the Director of Nursing sent to all signatories, and the mass emailed from the Chair of Council in the last 48 hours.

The statement continues and issues an ultimatum; “Council must either meet with us in good faith, or be prepared for two EGMs.

“The petition has provided an opportunity for RCN Council to demonstrate a commitment to their election manifestos of increased member engagement. For all the fine speeches of being member-led, the RCN has once again missed the opportunity to put words into action.”

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