Section A (Reports)
A1 Standing Orders Committee report 2
A2 Policy Committee report 3
A3 Disputes Resolution Committee report 4
Section B (Voting Papers)
B1 Workers Rights VP 5
Section C (Policy Motions) first agenda number of
no. prioritisation votes
C1 Updating Pensions policy 16 C20 62
C2 Allotments and urban food growing 17 C25 57
C3 State funding of political parties 18 C21 55
C4 New policy on abortion 18 C22 46
C5 Monetary reform 2 19 C24 39
C6 Monetary reform 1 19 C23 37
Section D (Organisational motions)
D1 GP to stand candidates in elections to House of Lords 20 D30 57
D2 No resubmission of policy motions for two years 20 D34 47
D3 Create GPEX Publications Co-ordinator 20 D36 39
D4 Merge Finance / Management Co-ordinators 20 D37 34
D5 Pre-conference postal ballot for contentious motions 20 D31 33
D6 Regarding Shell site, near Reading 21 D38 33
D7 Principal / Deputy Principal Speakers 21 D35 22
D8 Fix amount paid by autonomous regional parties to GPEW 21 D32 20
D9 Open Source Software 22 D33 11
Section E (Draft Voting Papers)
E1 Social Welfare DVP 22
Section O (Out of Order motions)
O1 Public Services policy statement 25
O2 Open Source Software 26
O3 Support election of Party leader 27
O4 Approve ballot on Autonomous Regional status for 27
Yorkshire & Humberside
List of contacts 28
Autumn Conference and AGM 2003 will be at St Martins College Lancaster, from Thursday 11th September to Sunday 14th. First Agenda deadline will be Thursday 12th June; Final Agenda deadline will be Thursday 31st July.
Section A - Reports
Items in section A are required by the Constitution or Standing Orders.
A1. SOC Report
SOC members are : John Street (convenor), Lindy Brett, Dean Walton, Sue Miles (co-opted).
Welcome to the Final Agenda for the Green Party’s Spring Conference 2003.
An electronic version of the Final Agenda is available on request as an rtf file (400kB) from the SOC Convenor, John Street, email address email@example.com. Paper copies are available from Green Party Office, 1a Waterlow Road, London, N19 5NJ, telephone 020-7272-4474.
Content of the Final Agenda
There is 1 voting paper (Workers Rights resubmitted by Policy Committee for updating), 1 draft voting paper (Social Welfare), 6 policy motions, 9 organisational motions, and 4 motions that have been ruled out of order.
Amendments were received to three motions in Section C and four in Section D. There were also a few amendments to the Workers Rights Voting Paper, as well as the raft of amendments submitted with the motion. All amendments received had the necessary four signatures.
Amendment 35 to the Workers Rights Voting Paper was ruled out of order but has been left in its original place in the Agenda.
Amendments 5 and 18 to the Workers Rights VP have been declared ‘Textual or Grammatical’ and as such will be determined by Policy Committee and will not be discussed by Conference.
Motion D8 (was D32 in First Agenda) – fix amount paid by autonomous regional parties.
SOC have ruled that if this motion is passed it will NOT apply to the figure that has been agreed after negotiations between Wales Regional Party and GPRC.
Prioritisation Ballot and Order of Motions in this Agenda
Approximately 225 copies of the First Agenda were distributed to local party contacts and members of various committees, each copy containing a prioritisation ballot form on the last page. A ballot form was also included with the summary of the First Agenda sent to all members with Green Activist in mid January. Thirty three ballot forms were returned to SOC. The order of motions in this Agenda reflects the collective wishes of those who returned their prioritisation forms.
SOC can propose that certain motions be fast-tracked if it considers that they are uncontentious and if they have no amendments. If no-one disagrees, then these motions are formally proposed and voted on, without debate. If anyone objects to a motion being fast-tracked, then it won’t be. For this Conference, SOC proposes these two motions for fast-tracking:
C3 – state funding of political parties
D6 – motion on Shell site, near Reading
Deadlines for receipt of motions / amendments
The date announced as the deadline for receipt of motions / amendments is the last date for receipt by the SOC Convenor, or named recipient. Motions / amendments arriving after the deadline will not be considered. The Royal Mail does not guarantee that first class post will be delivered the next day. It does guarantee that mail posted using its Special Delivery service will be delivered the next day (by 12.30pm), though you should check locally for latest posting times. If you want to be sure that your submission arrives the next day then you should use the Special Delivery service and not rely on first class post.
Preambles and Introductions
There has been a growing tendency in recent years for motions to include sections headed’ preamble’ or ‘introduction’ but which is really a speech in favour of the motion. This time, SOC has removed such sections where this was
apparent; the place for speeches either for or against motions is on the floor of Conference.
SOC does accept e-mail signatures after prior arrangement only. Please contact the SOC Convenor if you want to set one up. After an e-mail signature has been set up, SOC will accept e-mails as signature provided that they contain your name and local party, clearly identify the motion / amendment and state clearly that you wish to sign the motion ./ amendment. If you change your email address you will need to inform SOC that you wish to use the new address for your email signatures. Please contact SOC if you have any questions about e-mail signatures.
Executive By-Election (Finance Co-ordinator)
One nomination was received by the ERO by the closing date. Consequently nominations are re-opened and hustings and the ballot for this post will be held at Conference.
Nomination forms are available: before Conference from David Carter (ERO, 29 Devonshire Road, Heaton Moor, Stockport, SK4 4EF, 0161-431-4154 firstname.lastname@example.org) or at Conference from SOC.
They should be returned either by Thursday, March 6th to the ERO at the above address or by 12 noon on Saturday, March 15th at Conference to the SOC table.
Elections will also be held at Conference for unfilled positions on these Committees:
Campaigns Committee (2), Standing Orders (2),
Disputes Resolution (3), Conferences (3).
All those who are currently co-opted to any of these committees should put themselves forward for election. For information on these elections please contact the SOC Convenor.
Deadline for receipt by SOC of completed nomination forms will be 12 noon on Saturday 15th March.
SOC would like to remind everyone that although Standing Orders are suspended when an emergency motion is discussed, it is only Section A that is suspended. This is the section that deals with the requirement to submit motions by the First Agenda deadline.
The section of the standing orders that deals with reasons for SOC ruling motions out of order is NOT suspended. This is Section C9 of the standing orders, which states:
"Motions or amendments to motions shall be ruled out of order on grounds of being:
In addition, Section G1 of the Standing Orders states :
b) Emergency motions shall only be accepted provided
i) the issue has arisen, or has substantially changed, since the deadline for motions
ii) the motion is consistent with the MfSS and neither changes nor adds to the text of the MfSS
c) No amendments to the Constitution or Standing Orders are permitted under this suspension
Please bear these restrictions in mind when composing and submitting any emergency motions.
Autumn Conference and AGM 2003 will be at St Martins College Lancaster, from Thursday 11th September to Sunday 14th. First Agenda deadline will be Thursday 12th June; Final Agenda deadline will be Thursday 31st July.
A2. Policy Committee report
Policy at this conference
Most of the policy on the agenda at this conference focuses on social and economic issues. We will be updating our workers rights policy using the fast track review process, which will include consideration of over 30 policy committee amendments to the existing policy. Key issues of the review include our policies on union rights, discrimination, workers co-ops and volunteers. Policy Committee has researched these areas, in consultation with unions and with reference to their policy recommendations.
The Committee has brought a motion to rationalise and clarify our position on funding of political parties. Brian Heatley, the author of this motion, gets the new Policy Committee Spring policy award for coming up with the shortest motion of conference to 'intelligently prune' the MfSS.
We have also brought a pensions policy proposing a Citizens Pension, which would connect the Citizens Income to the immediate, key demands of pensioners and pensioner organisations.
A policy on abortion, which was already in preparation by the outgoing committee and my predecessor, is also being proposed by the committee. Following numerous enquiries made to the national party and our candidates in recent elections, both the outgoing and current committees felt that the party should be given the opportunity to decide whether it wants a policy on this issue.
Other motions brought by members of the wider policy community for debate at this conference include amendment of our economic policy and a policy on allotments as an amendment to our agriculture policy.
All policy motions being voted on at conference will have workshops - to which all party members are invited to attend. The workshops will debate the motions and amendments and in each case will report back to the relevant plenary sessions to inform debate prior to the vote.
Draft voting papers and policy for autumn conference and beyond…
A draft voting paper (DVP) on social welfare is being considered at this conference and there is also the opportunity to have further input into the DVP on population, which was brought to the last conference.
If you are interested in these issues, please attend the relevant workshops. Policy committee hopes both will be ready to be brought to Autumn conference 2003 as full voting papers.
Amendments to the climate change policy may need to be developed and brought to Autumn conference. There are also plans to bring a space policy to a future conference, in accordance with the enabling motion passed at last conference. Some initial progress is being made on this by the proposers of that motion.
Working on our 7 key issues
Policy committee has adjusted its work in relation to the 7 key areas agreed at last conference as priorities issues for the party. This will continue to inform the work and priorities of the committee.
As a result the committee proposed a policy statement on Public Services (one of the key issues). This was ruled out of order by SOC and was consequently considered and agreed by GPRC at its January 2003 meeting.
The committee is also working to ensure basic policy literature and briefings are available on the 7 key issues. This includes the production of new policy pointers where other relevant - and up to date - party literature is not available.
Building effective working groups
Another important dimension of the party's agreement of 7 key issues for policy committee is the extent to which we have active, vibrant and effective working groups in these key areas.
As a result we are relaunching the Agriculture working group as a new Food and Farming group at this conference. The new group, which has already been advertised in Green Activist, will cover a wider range of issues, including trade, live exports and gmos. Those interested in getting involved in the functioning of this group should attend one of the meetings on these subjects at this conference and see me.
A stronger, more effective community of working groups - on the 7 key issues, but also beyond these - will benefit the party immensely. Many groups will be holding fringe meetings at this conference.
If you have an interest in a particular area (whether from a policy, campaigning or media point of view), please try to attend these meetings and get involved. Do speak to a member of policy committee during the conference if you would like to get involved in a particular issue, but no meeting is being held. We can put you in touch with other relevant party members. The vast majority of working groups have email lists, to which any party member can subscribe. Again, policy committee can provide more information about getting subscribed to relevant lists.
If you are a member of a working group, please ask yourself whether your group is functioning effectively. Policy development and monitoring is only one aspect of an effective working group. Conference is the time to speak to media, campaigns or policy people if you think those aspects of your working group needs developing.
Policy committee representatives are working with GPEX's Media Strategy Committee to ensure effective response to relevant government consultations. Future reports will give details of these consultation responses.
Policy Committee has met with the Elections Committee Convenor regarding the European Election Manifesto and the production of election briefings and, with International Committee, is giving some effective input into the EFGP Common European Manifesto.
The committee is working to develop more effective and helpful ways of providing policy support to Green councillors. We are improving our liaison with AGC, and have appointed one of the committee as our liaison person.
Policy on the website - an easy way to find policy
The MfSS on the party website is fully up to date and fully searchable. To find relevant policy do a search on the website which includes "MfSS" in the search terms along with appropriate key words. By selecting a 'cache' display of the results, your key words will be highlighted in the policy sections that come up. The website is also the best immediate source for policy briefings and reports.
Interested in Policy Committee?
If you are interested in standing for policy committee in the future (the next elections to the committee are at Autumn conference), or want to learn more about the committee and policy work, please feel free to attend the current committee's meetings as an observer.
The committee will meet at this conference (as well as autumn conference) and also meets at other times of the year (frequently, though not exclusively, in London). Its meetings are always open to party members with an interest in policy. Please contact me for more information.
A big thank you to all policy committee members and my GPRC Policy Friend, Ruth Jenkins, for working so well as a team over the past few months, and to Jonathan Dixon (my predecessor as convenor of the committee) for ensuring a smooth handover and for offering helpful advice when needed.
Danny Bates, Convenor, Policy Committee and Policy Development Co-ordinator.
A3. Disputes Resolution Committee report
Summary of DRC actions from August 2002 to January 2003.
Requests for DRC involvement 2
Both cases resolved
Disagreements observed where :-
DRC offered assistance 0
DRC did not offer assistance 1
DRC was asked not to be involved 1
Ongoing disagreements :-
successfully terminated 2
terminated without resolution 0
Requests for research :-
answered quickly 0
without a quick answer. 0
Requests to initiate a hearing 1
No action required or taken
Requests for professional mediation 1
No action taken or required
DRC members are: Owen Clarke, Wilf Hastings, elected at Lancaster, Sue Bradley, co-opted. Anna Baker was elected at Lancaster, but has had to withdraw due to temporary medical problems.
During this half year the Dispute Resolution Committee can be said to have come of age. There were two requests for DRC involvement in disputes, the first a "fresh" dispute between two members which was resolved in ten days. The second was the Wales GP / GPRC / GPEx situation on WGP payments to GPE&W where the negotiations had been in stalemate for 14 months, but resolution was achieved in just over one month. It is hoped that members will now realise that if they are unfortunate enough to become involved in a dispute then DRC can assist those involved to reach an agreement of their choice in a short time.
A single sheet on DIY dispute resolution has been distributed to all members, and one very positive response has been received to date.
Conversations continued with the London Region representative with the aim of discovering the flaw in DRC procedures that had caused failures. To DRC surprise when the two cases that led to successful calls for removal of all or part of the DRC report were actually identified, in neither of these two cases had DRC intervened, and so could not have made the situation worse. DRC were however aware of both situations and had discussed these internally. In one case some external research was carried out since reports had been heard of a possible move to suspend a member.
Discussions have been carried out in conjunction with GPRC aimed at revising the Standing Orders for DRC and clarifying the role of DRC in working for resolution where possible before a Disciplinary Tribunal commences. Some progress has been made but more work has to be done.
The initial stage of setting up a revised organisation to deal with disputes in a new and Green manner has now passed with proven procedures and organisation in place. It would be nice to see some competition for places in this important body whose aim is to resolve disputes and disagreements before they cause loss of activity or membership. Can you help ????
Owen Clarke, Convenor of DRC
Section B (Voting Papers)
B1. Workers Rights Policy (submitted by Policy Committee)
SOC Note – amendments marked *** were submitted with the motion, by the proposers
Policy Committee is putting forward the Workers Rights policy for fast-track review. The current policy is included in full, accompanied by Amendments to update/improve the policy proposed by Policy Committee. Many of the Amendments result from consultation with unions or union literature and websites, and offer policy alternatives to New Labour's continuation of Thatcherite anti-union legislation.
A Charter of Workers' Rights, published in September 2002 by the Institute of Employment Rights and sponsored by 28 leading British unions, has been a major reference. Policy Committee's Amendments aim to ensure our policy endorses and reflects the 10 basic workers' rights advocated by the Charter. They also ensure that our policy includes crucial up-to-date opposition to New Labour's anti-union stance. Other Amendments add the long-promised section on volunteers and carers and enact a recent enabling motion on workers co-ops.
If the policy amendments are voted down, the MfSS Workers Rights section simply remains the same.
Delete existing 'Workers' Rights' section of MfSS and replace with:
Change title of policy section to ‘Workers' Rights and Employment’.
Perspective and Principles
WR100 As Greens we take a holistic view of work and of rights. Our workplace is part of the environment. This is the basis of the Green Party's policies for workers' rights.
WR101 We define work in the full sense, not the traditional limited definition as employment in the formal economy. Green thinking recognises the latter as one part of the whole - a large part, but not the only one. Work exists in a variety of forms, each related to and often affecting others, like species in an ecosystem. Work covers all the activities people undertake to support themselves, their families and communities. (see EC400's)
WR102 Greens reject the traditional focus of some solely on individual rights, and that of others on collective rights. The broader Green perspective recognises that everyone needs both individual and collective rights, and a balance between them.
WR103 Greens do not see rights as legal devices, over which lawyers, officials and experts argue interminably on behalf of passive clients - ourselves. Rights must be empowering, living ideas. We must be prepared to assert our own individual rights. We must be able to act collectively with others to assert our common rights, and those of our communities.
Amendment 2 ***
Delete existing WR103 and replace with WR103 As well as offering legal protection, rights can empower. It is important that everyone is able to assert and defend their individual rights and can act collectively with others to assert and defend their common rights and those of their communities.
WR104 The Green Party's policies offer this Green perspective to each individual worker, and to working people organised collectively. We know that most collective organisation is in trade unions, and value that. We welcome the increasing organisation of working people in their own co-operative undertakings. Both are ways of asserting workers' rights together, and through participation empowering individual workers.
WR105 This empowering of people is a key element in the development of a Green society and economy. The Green Party is committed to workplace democracy, whereby undertakings shall be managed co-operatively through the involvement of those who work in them and the communities they serve.
Amendment 3 ***
Delete existing WR105 and replace with:
WR105 Empowering people in their workplace is a key element in the development of a Green society and economy. The Green Party is committed to developing workplace democracy whereby more decision-making and control takes place in the workplace, co-operative structures of managing and working are developed, and there is greater involvement and contact with local communities.
WR200 People have rights because there are wrongs. These rights are therefore designed as short term measures, to protect people from the exploitation inherent in our existing economic system. Our long term aim is to remove these sources of oppression and exploitation. As we achieve a society without inequities, then the protection afforded by these rights will no longer be needed or relevant.
Amendment 4 ***
Delete existing WR200 and replace with new WR200:
WR200 Enshrining rights in law gives people a means of protection from injustice. Workers' rights offer protection against exploitation under our existing economic system. Our long term aim is to end the oppressive and exploitative nature of economic relations and develop a society of equality and economic justice. In such a society, rights would still need to be guaranteed in law, but there would be much less recourse to the law in order to protect those rights.
WR201 Individual workers need appropriate protection under the law. This means: i) a set of basic rights for all employees; ii) a package of measures to support the self employed and small businesses; iii) a charter for volunteers and carers;
Amendment 5 *** (T/G)
At end of WR201 delete last ';' and replace with a full stop.
WR202 We recognise that the law must not be used as a way of dealing with the symptoms, whilst the source of the problem remains untouched. Laws designed to protect the oppressed, must also empower. Laws which penalise the oppressor, must also foster a sense of responsibility. Our long-term aim is that this legal guidance will be absorbed into the way society organises itself and become an everyday part of the way in which communities behave.
WR203 Activities in the formal economic sphere should be minimised. People's needs should be met primarily because they are members of a community, rather than because they are in paid employment. We should support the growth of unpaid work which is of benefit to the community and do nothing which encourages the current system of economic exploitation to continue. (EC400-404)
Amendment 6 ***
Delete last sentence of WR202 and whole of WR203 and renumber.
WR204 Workplace democracy will help us to attain these long-term aims. However, it must go hand in hand with other reforms that deal with discrimination, the power of the state, the ownership of land and the control of information. All these influence our ability to control our working lives, which in turn effects an individuals ability to care for the planet.
WR205 We recognise that there is a thin dividing line between "workers employed by a single regular employer" and the "genuinely self employed, freelance and sole traders who work for no particular organisation". We also recognise that the distinction will become more blurred as we move towards a society based upon the idea of partnership, where people work with others, rather than for them. While dealing with these separate categories in a way that is appropriate to their needs in our current economic system, we also aim to assist the development of a Green economy.
WR206 We recognise that in the short term, some employment rights will be of greater benefit to workers in either large businesses or in industries that we want to discourage. We must therefore seek to discriminate in favour of both workers within small businesses and those within particular sectors of the economy which we wish to encourage, e.g. the selective use of subsidies to underpin some of these rights.
Amendment 7 ***
Delete existing WR206 and replace with new WR206 -WR208.
WR206 The development of an ecologically sustainable economy will mean the promotion and development of some sectors and industries rather than others. This 'greening' of the economy must be done in such a way as to respect the rights of individual workers in all sectors - with significant investment in retraining and industrial diversification.
WR207 The development of an ecologically sustainable economy must also be socially and economically just. This must entail proper respect for workers' rights and economic security for all members of society. To this end, the Green Party recognises that all workers have the right to dignity at work, just conditions of work, a fair wage and security of employment.
[Note. This embodies the 1 st and 4th workers' rights in the Charter of Workers' Rights.]
WR208 For rights to be upheld and defended, access to relevant information and means of enforcement must be ensured. Every worker must have the right, from the outset of their employment, to effective remedies to enforce their rights, including adequate rights for workers' representatives to inspect and obtain information.
[Note. This embodies the 10th workers' rights in the Charter of Workers' Rights.]
The Law of Contract
WR300 All employees, other than where specifically stated, should be covered by these rights.
WR301 We will replace the existing legal assumptions about the nature of contracts with a more sophisticated system which compensates for, rather than perpetuates, the inequalities of power within our society. This will take two forms: i) a statutory Code, laying down minimum terms between an employer and an employee; and ii) revisions to the law of contract designed to protect the small business and to promote the rights of the self employed. Although these rights could not be negotiated away, we hope they would be built upon by agreements between workers and their employees; or between a small business and a larger one.
WR302 The new Labour Courts will have responsibility for interpreting the legal definition of what constitutes an employee. WR303 Registers of genuinely self employed workers will be set up in appropriate industries e.g. construction. Businesses using non registered labour will be automatically deemed to be employers.
WR304 Agencies set up "for the purposes of finding employment for workers, or supplying employers with workers", will be covered by the sections on leave entitlements, discrimination, health and safety.
WR305 The rules and regulations of the employing organisation will only be seen as part of the contract of employment if they are reasonable, consistent and well known.
WR306 If an individual worker so desires, then collective agreements made between the recognised trade union and an employer, will be treated as part of the contract of employment and shall be enforceable by law. Such a desire must be made free from duress, and can be subject to action in the Labour Courts by any of the parties concerned.
WR307 Employees will be entitled to a written contract on acceptance of the job being offered, or within an agreed probationary period. All changes to the contract must be notified to the employee directly. The contract must specify what is seen as an acceptable period of notice for such changes.
Amendment 8 ***
Insert new WR320 and renumber:
The Green Party believes that every worker has the right not to be discriminated against and to be treated with equality in equivalent circumstances. [Note. This embodies the 3 rd workers' right in the Charter of Workers' Rights.]
WR320 We will make it an offence to harass or discriminate directly against people at work, on grounds of race, sex, family status or responsibilities, disability, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, political opinion or physical appearance. This will include people who are disadvantaged by reason of resistance to discrimination.
Amendment 9 ***
In first sentence of oldWR320/newWR321 (if renumbered by Amendment 8) delete "We will make it an offence to harass or discriminate directly" and replace with "The Green Party will support and improve legislation to make it an offence to harass or discriminate directly or indirectly"
WR321 The new Labour Courts will produce Codes of practice covering indirect discrimination and it shall be an offence to be found repeatedly flouting such codes. They will also produce guidelines about what constitutes a genuine "occupational requirement".
WR322 Every person should have an opportunity to challenge an employer who has "wrongly & unfairly refused to employ them", or failed to provide equal access to training & promotion. They will be assisted by the local team of inspectors in doing this, although both the CRE (Commission for Racial Equality) and the EOC (Equal Opportunities Commission) will have a supportive role. The Industrial Tribunal will have the power to enforce a recommendation for appropriate action in the following ways: - an increase in salary, &/or promotion. - compensation (e.g. if self employed). - (re)instatement
Amendment 10 ***
In WR322 second sentence delete ‘both’ and after '(Commission for Racial Equality)‘ insert ', the DRC (Disability Rights Commission)’.
Employment & Redundancy
WR330 Workers should be protected from the first day of employment and there should be no minimum qualifying hours per week. An exception covering only the "right to a job" and "compensation for redundancy" may be made in some cases. This exception shall require the agreement of both employer and employee. It will last for a trial period of 3 months, renewable for one 3 month period by agreement of both parties.
WR331 Employers should have to consult with workers and justify any redundancies, by proving that such job losses where unavoidable &/or in the public interest. Selection would be subject to guidelines in a Code issued by the Labour Courts.
WR332 Casual work and short term contracts shall not be used as a way of avoiding statutory rights. An employee may challenge the employer to show that such contracts can be justified (e.g. temporary reductions in the workforce, or exceptional increase in activity, the limited nature of the workload or task). Short term contracts may only be offered for short term work.
WR333 We shall offer more protection to people who are dismissed because circumstances beyond their control, "frustrate" them from carrying out the terms of their contract at that particular time.
Time and Leave
WR340 One of our main aims will be to encourage the growth of part time work, job sharing and career breaks. WR341 Whilst we acknowledge that the wider community has a significant role to play in the provision of child care, we accept the need to support the large number of parents who are torn by the artificial separation of the "workplace" and the "home". Our long term aim must be to resolve this conflict, but in the short-term we have to give people greater flexibility in making decisions about these important aspects of their lives.
WR342 There should be a legal right to at least 28 days (or 196 hours) paid holiday in a calendar year, in addition to public holidays, for those employed at least 35 hours per week. This should apply pro-rata for those employed less hours per week or for shorter periods; it won't apply to people working fixed term contracts of less than 60 days.
WR343 The contract of employment will include a standard level of working hours per year, with a negotiated agreement covering the number of hours worked per week. Whilst the government may set a maximum number of hours for certain occupations, it is hoped that the District Committees will advise organisations (and the self employed) about what this standard should be. Individuals may refuse to work beyond an established standard (fixed by the people involved in that particular industry or occupation) and shall not suffer discrimination as a result. Whilst there would be strict control of hours worked by children and those in full time education, we would make allowances for those undertaking a mixture of work and study.
WR344 There will be tax incentives for employers who provide support facilities at the workplace such as childcare, job-sharing, flexible working, counselling and family planning [improvements to community child care are dealt with in the Social Welfare section of the MfSS].
Amendment 11 ***
In WR344 delete "[improvements to community child care are dealt with in the Social Welfare section of MfSS]"
WR345 Mothers will have the right to take breaks during the working day, without loss of pay, to nurse their babies.
WR346 We will introduce the following system of parental leave. "Parent" is defined as a person who has legal care of, and responsibility for, the child. The right to parental leave may therefore apply to more than one person per child. The sexual orientation of a parent shall in no way determine or reflect upon their ability and worth in caring for children.
i) The period of statutory maternity leave (on full pay) will be three months.
ii) Every employee should be eligible for parental leave after 3 months service.
iii) In addition, each parent should have the right to take a period of parental leave during the first three years of the child's life. The parents, or parent may designate another person as a co-parent, who will be entitled to take parental leave to care for the child.
iv) Parental leave should be gradually extended to one year, with the parents, or parent and nominated co-parent, deciding how to share the time between them (a single parent will be entitled to the whole one year leave). This time can be shared sequentially or concurrently.
v) The percentage of pay given will vary according to the length of the leave taken, in the case of small firms the cost will be covered from taxation.
vi) Parental leave is taken without loss of job rights.
vii) The notice for parental leave and the right to return to work should be reduced to the minimum necessary for proper planning. In an emergency no notice need be given. Employees should have protection against dismissal for late notice of return to work, up to a month prior to the ending of their period of parental leave.
viii) People in the process of adopting children shall be given time off work for introductory sessions and will then be entitled to parental leave as stated above.
WR347 There will be statutory rights to time off for education, public service and voluntary work. Firms will receive appropriate compensation depending on their size and the nature of the job being left vacant.
WR348 There will be tax incentives to encourage employers to provide facilities at the workplace for people pursuing further education, or a service which is of benefit to the community.
WR349 We will examine the granting of a statutory right for time off to people caring for sick relatives/partners, children with special needs, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Amendment 12 ***
Change title of section to ‘Income and Economic Security’.
Background and Principles
WR350 Everyone should be paid the same for work of equal value, regardless of age.
Amendment 13 ***
Change "Background and Principles" to "Principles and Policies" and delete sub-heading "Policies" (currently after WR351). In WR350 insert the following before the current sentence:
"The large income disparities which characterise our society are a sign of significant social and economic injustice. The Green Party believes that working people should be paid a decent, living wage and, like every other citizen, be entitled to a sufficient level of economic security to meet their needs. Every worker, like every citizen, should have the right to fair income security, whether working, unemployed, in retirement or in sickness."
[Note. This embodies the 5th workers' right in the Charter of Workers' Rights.]
Amendment 14 ***
Insert new WR351 and renumber:
WR351 To these ends we propose (i) a Citizens Income payable to every citizen as a basic right, funded by an ecological and genuinely progressive taxation system, and (ii) a significant role for unions and workers to ensure decent wage levels. In the absence of a fully developed Citizens Income scheme, we support (a) the idea of minimum wage legislation, set at a level to combat social and economic injustice and the poverty and economic insecurity associated with low pay, and (b) the payment of decent benefits to low-and un-waged people.
WR351 It is anticipated that wage rates are likely to change, in order to reflect the changing priorities of society as we move towards the creation of a sustainable economy.
WR351a Disputes about differentials arising from such changes in the economy will be handled by a newly created job Evaluation Agency.
[Note. WR351a does not have a paragraph number allocated to it in the current MfSS. Policy Committee have nominally designated this policy WR351a for the purposes of this review.]
Amendment 15 ***
Delete old WR351/new WR352(if renumbered by earlier Amendment) and delete WR351a, and replace with the following, renumbering as necessary:
The development of a genuinely sustainable economy will bring significant changes to many sectors, affecting patterns of employment, and offering new opportunities for 'green collar' jobs. Any disputes or problems arising from these economic changes will be handled by a newly created Job Evaluation Agency, in consultation with unions and employers.
WR352 A new Equal Pay Act will be drawn up and cases will be assessed by the District Committee (see WR511,514) advised by an expert evaluator, from the Job Evaluation Agency. Awards shall be back-dated with interest.
WR353 The Labour Courts will produce guidelines covering occupations where length of service and experience are considered legitimate considerations.
WR354 Benefits will be paid equally to all people over 16 years of age. There will be no requirement to regularly move your dwelling place in order to claim these benefits.
Delete second sentence of WR354 and after "years of age" add ", with additional payments to pensioners and people with disabilities or special needs. (See also WR351 and EC732)".
WR355 Someone wishing to leave their current employment shall not be disqualified from claiming unemployment benefit, or other social benefits.
Amendment 17 ***
In WR355 after "…unemployment" delete "benefit,"
Self Employed Traders and Workers
Background and Principles
WR360 Many people are attracted by the autonomy & personal flexibility which self employment can bring. It is this independence which we wish to foster by introducing the Citizen’s Income scheme (EC730). However, many of these advantages depend upon your occupation and large numbers of the self employed are more exploited, and have less freedom, than their waged counterparts. It is therefore necessary to provide an appropriate protection for people who work in certain trades.
WR361 The following Acts will be adapted to include protection for the self employed: i) the new equal pay act and legislation on discrimination will apply to contracts between businesses; ii) the government will provide funds to enable the self employed to claim the rights to maternity and parental leave, based upon both their average income and hours worked. iii) contracts should include clauses outlining compensation to be paid by the employing organisation where the agreed contract is revoked by them, prior to the work taking place. iv) legal enforcement of the payment for contracts will be dealt with by the Labour Courts. There will be penalties for large organisations failing to pay promptly to smaller businesses. The self employed will have access to the inspectorate to enforce such claims, v) unemployment pay will be available to the self employed on equal terms to paid employees.
WR362 Discrimination against early leavers in occupational pension schemes will be outlawed.
Background and Objectives
WR400 The Green Party supports the right of working people to form and join free democratic and self-governing trade unions, without restriction by employer or government. Greens share the unions' belief in working together to give individuals more say in their own lives. Unions should be participatory democracies, encouraging active involvement of all the workers they represent.
WR401 Greens recognise the achievements of trade unions in protecting and improving their members' terms and conditions of employment. We note that such benefits have accrued not only to union members but also to their fellow workers. Health and safety at work is a particular example. Unions have also acted to improve the social welfare of the wider community, and have a wider political role.
WR402 The forms of trade unions and industrial relations are related to those of employment and the economy. We recognise that in the short term in the United Kingdom most employees will continue to be subjected to traditional forms of employment in large-scale industrialised undertakings. Many of these workers are represented by unions in traditional bargaining structures.
WR303 However, we also recognise that many workers who are most vulnerable to exploitation, both within workplaces and outside them, do not have trade union representation. We believe that selective action to secure improved pay and conditions for such workers is necessary, and we support the extension of union membership to them.
Amendment 18 *** (T/G)
Correct "WR303" to read "WR403"
WR404 Greens are determined that the United Kingdom shall move to a Green society and economy. The fundamental changes that process brings will be reflected in changing forms and roles for trade unions. Unions already play a part in wider issues affecting their members. The Green Party is committed to support and encourage this process of change in unions. In particular, we envisage a major role for unions in promoting workplace democracy. We also believe that reformed trades councils could have a valuable role in their local communities.
WR405 We have much in common with trade union members, and wish to work with unions. Green policies offer much to working people, in the short as well as the longer term. We invite unions to work with us to achieve them.
Trade Union Membership and Recognition
Amendment 19 ***
After Membership, add ", Representation".
Policies and Principles
WR410 We support the right to join a trade union, and condemn discrimination by employers against union members. We shall enact a statutory right to join a union, which shall apply to all workers of any occupation or profession; this will include members of the police, security and armed services. We support unions taking the unwaged and unemployed into membership. Discrimination against union members, and in particular refusal of employment and dismissal on grounds of union membership, shall be made illegal. We shall abolish any bans of trade unions in the civil and public services, such as that at the Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ)
Amendment 20 ***
In penultimate sentence of WR410, change "employment and dismissal" to "employment or dismissal" and delete "made". Delete last sentence of WR410 - "We shall abolish any bans of trade unions in the civil and public services, such as that at the Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ) "
[Note. Current WR410 - with or without Amendment - embodies the 6th workers' right in the Charter of Workers' Rights. This Amendment merely clarifies and deletes an outdated policy.]
Amendment 21 ***
Insert new WR411 and renumber:
WR411 Every worker shall have the legal right to be represented by an independent trade union in dealings with their employer. This should include the right to be represented in collective bargaining and to participate in decisions at work. Individual contracts signed between an employer and worker will not be able to waive the right of that worker to be represented by their trade union." [Note. This embodies the 9th workers' right in the Charter of Workers' Rights.]
WR411 Individual trade union members shall be entitled to be represented by their union in dealings with their employer. We shall provide a legally binding system of workplace ballots for union recognition on behalf of workers collectively. These will be held at the request of workers. Employers shall be required to recognise trade unions successful in such ballots, and to provide them with adequate facilities to represent their members in the workplace. The choice of a union or unions to represent them shall be the collective prerogative of the workers in a workplace. We would support workers choosing a single union for their workplace, but it shall be illegal for employers to enter into single union recognition agreements which seek to pre-empt the workers' choice. We encourage cooperation between members of different unions and welcome the formation of inter-union combinations at local level.
Amendment 22 ***
In old WR411/new WR412 (if renumbered), delete first sentence and insert new first 2 sentences:
'All employers, regardless of the number of workers they employ, will be legally obliged to recognise unions chosen by their workforce. Additional support will be given to small businesses to ensure this happens effectively.'
and in final sentence, after 'local', delete 'level' and add ', regional, and national levels'.
Amendment 23 ***
Insert new WR412/3 (depending on renumbering*) and renumber:
WR412/3* We oppose and seek the abolition of those conditions and loopholes which unfairly restrict statutory union recognition. Current provisions which work to the detriment of workers include the conditions whereby (a) an employer is under no legal obligation to recognise a union if less than 40% of eligible workers vote in favour, (b) employers can recognise non-independent trade unions, thereby precluding the recognition of genuinely independent unions, and (c) employers can disregard demands for union recognition by bargaining units if those units are deemed not 'compatible with effective management'.
WR412 The collective and representative nature of trade unions requires that full membership and participation of the workforce should be encouraged; this should include managers. Unions should seek to recruit all eligible workers, including those traditionally under-represented in unions, women, part-time workers, volunteer workers, the low-paid and the unemployed. We welcome the steps already taken by some unions, and encourage others to do likewise. The cost of union membership subscriptions should not be allowed to be a deterrent; we shall provide tax allowances for their cost, as is done for subscriptions to professional bodies. However, we recognise that some workers will wish not to join a union, on grounds of principle. We are opposed to the closed shop, whereby union membership is a condition of employment.
Amendment 24 ***
In old WR412, in fourth sentence, after ' we shall', insert 'develop a mechanism to ensure that the poorest paid workers can afford to join the union of their choice, and shall also'.
Democratic Organisation of Trade Unions
WR420 The Green Party believes in the self-organisation of workers in trade unions. Union organisation should emphasise the branch of members in a workplace. Responsibilities should rest and resources be controlled at the most local level appropriate.
Amendment 25 ***
Rename subtitle of this section "Trade Union Democracy and Autonomy". After first sentence in WR420, add new second sentence:
"Every union should have the legal right to autonomously determine its
rules of organisation and activity, free from employer or state interference,
but subject to standards of internal and participatory democracy".
[Note. This Amendment embodies the 7th workers' right in the Charter of Workers' Rights.]
WR421 A trade union should be a participatory democracy. Wherever possible decisions should be taken by union members voting in their workplaces after discussion there. We do not favour decisions being taken by a remote national executive for members, nor postal ballots issued in isolation by a national headquarters. We support the use of open ballots at workplace meetings to take most decisions, but with secret ballots available if desired, for example to elect representatives. Discussion and decision at local meetings are the basis of union democracy; they encourage members to empower themselves by active participation.
WR422 As Greens we support union members seeking to organise their unions on these lines. We shall enact the right of trade unions to the facilities needed for participatory democracy in the workplace. We do not believe participatory democracy in trade unions is best achieved by imposing particular forms of union organisations and balloting, but we accept that minimum standards of democratic procedure should be required by law. We believe that union members have to be convinced of the need for participatory democracy and that when they are, unions will have to respond to their aspirations. Our role is to encourage this.
WR423 A key factor in encouraging participation in trade unions is education. We shall encourage the provision of trade union education, in unions and the community. Such education must be adequately funded and more widely available. Union members must be able to attend it without obstruction by employers. Particular aims of such education must be to reach those traditionally under-represented in unions, and those under-represented as union representatives, including ethnic minorities.
Principles and Policies
WR430 The Green Party believes that good industrial relations depend on the achievement of consensus in the workplace, which recognises the interests of all those working in the undertaking. The best approach is through the introduction of workplace democracy, and that is our aim.
WR431 Meanwhile, we believe that it should be possible to reach a consensus by discussion and negotiations between the opposing parties. Where a consensus cannot be reached, we favour the use of conciliation and arbitration to resolve the dispute. In the public sector, we shall negotiate agreements with trade unions which will allow either party in a dispute access to arbitration; we shall encourage undertakings in the private sector to do likewise. We shall extend the work and facilities of the Arbitration, Conciliation and Advisory Service of the Department of Employment.
WR432 The Green Party recognises that there are certain occupations where some forms of industrial action would create unacceptable risks to vulnerable members of society. If the right of such workers to take industrial action is to be restricted, they must have alternative means of obtaining fair resolution of their claims and grievances. In the public sector, we shall seek to negotiate with trade unions representing such workers which will provide such alternative arrangements; we shall encourage similar agreements in the private sector. These arrangements could include pay comparability and arbitration binding on all parties.
Amendment 26 ***
Delete existing WR432 and replace with new WR432 and WR433 and renumber:
WR432 The Green Party recognises the right to take industrial action without being in breach of contract and without the threat of dismissal or discrimination, in accordance with ILO Convention 87 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. We will ensure this right is protected in UK legislation.
WR433 The Green Party recognises the economic and social costs of industrial action - and seeks increased resolution of industrial disputes through improved even-handed arbitration mechanisms. Where industrial action could create high levels of risk to vulnerable members of society, mechanisms would be developed for voluntary restrictions on industrial action, which guaranteed alternative means of obtaining fair resolution of claims and grievances. These mechanisms would not surrender the legal right to strike but would aim to reduce the need for trade unions to exercise that right.
[Note. In December 1997 the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered that the UK's "failure to incorporate the right to strike into domestic law constitutes a breach of Article 8 of the [International] Covenant [on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights]". The UN Committee recommended "that the right to strike be established in [UK] legislation". The proposed new WR432 offers a policy response to that recommendation and also satisfies the 8th workers' right in the Charter of Workers' Rights.]
Principles and Policies
WR440 The Green Party believes that industrial disputes are most fairly and quickly resolved when the role of the law is simply to put the parties on equal footing, not to allow one party legal devices to handicap the other. Because the economic relationship between the employer and the employee places power in the hands of the employer, we believe that certain individual and collective rights of workers and their trade unions in disputes must be protected by statute.
WR441 We shall provide a legal framework which will enable employees and their trade unions to pursue legitimate trade disputes, and provide them with appropriate rights and immunities in so doing. This framework will recognise that the legitimate interest of workers includes any alternative provision of the jobs, goods and services which are the basis of their work, and the environmental and social consequences of their work. Thus the framework will provide limited scope for 'secondary' industrial action.
WR442 Workers engaged in industrial action shall retain their right to employment, and shall be protected from unfair dismissal on account of that action. They shall have the rights to strike and to picket peacefully; the latter will include rights to use the public highway for picketing and to speak with anyone crossing the picket line. A code of practice shall cover the use of these rights; it will emphasise non-violent picketing and non-provocative policing of pickets. Dismissal of a worker for refusing to cross a picket line shall be unfair. Lockouts shall be illegal. Trade unions shall not be allowed to sign away their legal rights, nor those of their members; 'no strike' and similar agreements shall not be legally binding.
WR443 Payments to workers under the Green Party's proposed Citizen’s Income scheme will not depend upon their being in work, and thus will be made to strikers. Prior to the introduction of that scheme, we believe that workers on strike and their families should receive full Social Security benefits.
The role of unions
Objectives and Policies
WR450 The Green Party looks forward to a wider and changing role for trade unions as the United Kingdom moves to a Green society and economy. We believe that union members should be consulted through their unions on proposals for their industries and legislation affecting them.
WR451 We encourage the involvement of trade unions in workplace democracy. Unions should have the right to be consulted on the management of their members' workplaces, and to form combines of representatives of different unions there to respond to such consultation. Existing union initiatives such as specialist advice to members setting up co-operative undertakings, and the preparation of alternative plans for socially useful production, should be developed. These initiatives should involve the local community as well as members in the workplace.
WR452 We encourage trade unions to develop schemes of mutual aid, such as the National and Local Government Officers' Association (NALGO) welfare fund. We shall provide tax incentives for this.
Amendment 27 ***
Delete "National and Local Government Officers' Association (NALGO)" and replace with "NALGO (now UNISON)".
WR453 We welcome the involvement of trade unions in wider campaigns affecting their members in the community, particularly for the protection of the environment. The National Union of Seamen's opposition to the dumping of nuclear waste at sea has been a fine example. The introduction of 'environmental' shop stewards by NALGO is another.
Amendment 28 ***
Delete existing WR453 text and replace with
We welcome the involvement of trade unions in wider campaigns affecting their members in the community, particularly in relation to the environment and social/economic justice. Fine examples of unions taking action on environmental issues include the opposition to the dumping of nuclear waste at sea by the National Union of Seamen (now RMT) and the introduction of 'environmental' shop stewards by NALGO (now UNISON).
WR460 The Green Party supports the right of workers in every country to form and join free democratic and self-governing trade unions, without restriction by employer or state authority. We support the work of international organisations, notably the International Labour Organisation, to that end. We condemn all attempts to deprive working people of those rights.
Health and Safety at Work
Amendment 29 ***
Immediately under 'Health and Safety at Work', insert new WR500 and
WR500 Every worker has the right to a safe and healthy working environment. The Green Party would ensure that this right is protected in law.
[Note. This section heading currently has no policy paragraphs attached to it. This Amendment gives the heading a policy and embodies the 2nd workers' right in the Charter of Workers' Rights.]
Enforcement and the Labour Courts
Principles and Objectives
WR500 We shall ensure that all workers are covered by an ongoing system of liaison between representatives of the employees and employers. This will involve building upon the existing system of industrial tribunals; the health and safety legislation; ACASS and the best practice of collective bargaining.
WR501 Implementation of the new legislation will be in the hands of people directly effected by those decisions. By creating a separate system of industrial tribunals and labour courts, we will take employment law out of the hands of the existing judiciary.
WR502 Our approach will be based upon the principles of self regulation, flexibility, conciliation and arbitration.
WR510 Legal aid will be provided for cases brought before the Labour Courts.
WR511 The primary responsibility for supervising the legislation will be in
the hands of workplace committees (in large establishments), or local committees
covering a particular industrial sector. These will have a similar role to that
of the existing health and safety committees, but will deal with the application
of the legislation covering workers individual and collective rights. They will
therefore have a structure and responsibilities, which are linked too, but separate
from, those of the existing negotiating machinery. They will have responsibility
i) advising the local negotiators (where they exist) on the various acts and suggesting ways in which existing, or new, agreements can be improved;
ii) helping to resolve disputes prior to them going to a Industrial Tribunal, by hearing the grievances of any employee(s), who feel that either the spirit, or the letter, of the relevant acts are not being practised;
iii) where no union representation exists, they should oversee the drawing up of contracts of employment, the application of common industrial standards and any rules governing the practice of a particular workplace;
iv) advising the work of the inspectors appointed by the District Committee to enforce the acts (see WR352)
WR512 The District Committees will be composed of representatives from business,
the unions and the local community. They will be funded and serviced by the
local council. The Committee will have responsibility for:
i) overseeing the work of the District's Industrial Tribunals;
ii) appointing, and overseeing the work of, the local
iii) education about both the content of the act and best. practice;
iv) the enforcement (via the inspectorate and their guidance to the Industrial Tribunals) of workers collective and individual rights (outlined respectively in WR400 - WR453 and WR300 - WR355).
v) helping to establish and maintain a full coverage of local workplace, or industrial, committees.
WR513 The District Committee's will have the initial task of advising employers on such questions as what constitutes a genuine "occupational requirement" and what forms of ill health & disability make someone unsuited to a particular task.
WR514 The inspectorate will be made up of trained, full time staff who will be financed by the local council, but accountable to their District Committee. (see WR352)
WR515 Any one of the District Industrial Tribunals will be composed of three people: one from the trade union side; one from business and one from the community. They will be advised by the inspectorate and any decision which cannot be reached by consensus must be passed up to the Regional Industrial Court.
WR516 The Regional Industrial Court and the National Appeals Court will be staffed by "labour court" judges, who will have a professional training and ethos which is distinct from that of existing judiciary. However, the stress should be on self government in the workplace, with most problems being resolved through the active involvement of the main participants.
WR517 The Labour Courts should take heed of previous case law, but its main
authority will be based upon a new series of acts covering:
i) Collective rights at work
ii) The Contract of Employment
iii) Employment and redundancy
v) Time and Leave
vii) Health and Safety at Work
WR518 These tribunals and courts will have the power to make orders for remedial action, payment of wages and injunctions.
WR519 Apart from exceptional cases (e.g. strong evidence of violence at work) the workers should remain in employment pending a speedy hearing of their case. The employer should have to prove that a permitted reason for the dismissal actually existed; that the procedures leading to dismissal were fair and complied with any provision agreed with the unions; and that the dismissal was fair according to good industrial practice.
WR520 Re-employment should be the normal remedy for unfair dismissal, rather than a lump sum pay-off.
Green employment -Transforming the Nature of Work
Principles and Objectives
WR600 There is no one blueprint for transforming the existing economic system. The approach taken will depend upon the problems we are faced with and the desire of people to have more control over their lives.
Replace WR600 with: "A Green economy must be a more mutual economy, in which industries and enterprises which are run by and for those who depend on them and are affected by them play a significant role in the economy. We believe that the international co-operative principles provide the benchmark for such businesses. This means that the Green Party must enable both the creation of new mutuals and the greater involvement of stakeholders other than investors in existing businesses."
Proposed by Alex Lawrie, Sarah Lawrie, Nick Hope Wilson, David Taylor.
WR601 We cannot impose a system of workplace democracy upon society; the role of the Green Party is to assist in the evolution of this new economy. We can do this as workers and employers, as councillors and MPs and as consumers, investors and neighbours.
WR602 Our main priority should therefore be to support those people who are struggling to create alternative economic systems and Green ways of running society. The Green Party will provide advice, coordination and materials which help this transformation. A Green government would therefore promote legislation and action which freed working people to make the changes which they felt necessary.
WR603 The producers of services or products obviously play a key role within our economic system, but we recognise that other groups also have a stake in the process.
WR604 By giving workers the freedom to organise collectively, a Green government will enable trade unionists to prioritise demands for workers to have a greater say in what they produce and how they produce it. Sharing the responsibility for running a business will initially be achieved through a natural extension of collective bargaining, improved union facilities; training of workers representatives and access to company information.
WR610 We would broaden the existing legal framework away from its narrow focus on those people who "own" the majority of shares. We would promote the interests of the other shareholders and investors, with the ultimate aim of having capital provided by either those who work in the organisation, or by the immediate community on which it depends. The main stakeholders will become the workers, other businesses, shareholders, the local community and the environment.
WR611 We reject any scheme which uses the token participation of the workforce, as a way of increasing their exploitation.
WR612 Any scheme for workplace democracy introduced by either a Green employer, or under legislation laid down by a Green government, should be done in consultation with local trade unionists. However, the new channels of decision making should encompass all staff, not just those within a trade union. The trade unions should be encouraged to maintain their role as upholders of workers' rights and as a separate channel by which grievances can be aired. They should also monitor the effectiveness of democracy within the workplace and have a major say in any proposals to improve the system adopted.
WR613 We encourage Greens within trade unions to promote those policies, ways of organising and priorities, which are consistent with this new vision of the stakeholder and a decentralised, sustainable economy.
WR614 We support the use of Green strikes, occupations and other forms of industrial action which are aimed at protecting the environment and the communities within it.
WR615 The introduction of our Citizen’s Income scheme (EC730) will enable people to have more choice in selecting both the work that they do and their employer.
WR616 As part of the process of moving towards the involvement of all the stakeholders, a Green government would introduce schemes in certain organisations which give workers greater control over internal decisions concerning how something is to be produced, or a service provided. These schemes would allow for either equal representation of workers and managers (at all levels), or for the election of certain key managers by the workforce. An extension of these schemes to allow for worker representatives on a "Board of Direction" would also give workers the ability to influence decisions about what is to be produced and what resources would be used. More general decisions about the allocation of resources within an organisation and its priorities, would be made by all the stakeholders concerned. These schemes could be triggered by the agreement of both management and the appropriate local trade union(s); or by a majority of 80% of staff voting for such a scheme to be introduced.
WR617 We value the skills of directors and managers, who act as the main coordinators and facilitators within an organisation. However, we do not believe that managers and directors should have to carry the sole burden for success or failure. We encourage and support all professionals and managers who seek to incorporate Green ideas within the ethos and practice of their occupational group.
WR618 The creation of a floor of individual rights at work; the ending of discrimination; and the introduction of the Citizen’s Income scheme will help transform the contract of employment into more of a partnership than an exchange between an "employer" and "employee".
The Environment and the Workplace
Background and Objectives
WR620 The Environment will gain from the decentralisation of industry and the growth of workplace democracy as larger numbers of people will have a more direct connection with the consequences of their actions.
WR621 Any moves towards workplace democracy must be put within the context of a system of environmental regulation. Whilst the Green Party sees the need for well resourced and independent watch dogs, we do not feel that leaving it to the professionals can be a replacement for the long-term aim of giving people real responsibility through a system of self management.
WR630 A Green government will therefore create a new Health, Safety and the Environment Act, which will extend the role and powers of the existing system of Health and Safety representatives. In the short term the Green Party will press both the unions and the employers to create new branch officers and shop steward posts (with full facilities and time off) to cover environmental protection.
WR631 We encourage the creation and implementation of plans for the conversion of targeted military and other industries, into socially useful and environmentally friendly production. These conversion strategies are best produced at a local level with the involvement of the workers; the local community; consumer groups; Green businesses and financial institutions, and other interested parties (e.g. environmental experts). (see PD700-720)
Principles and Policies
WR632 We support the formation and growth of cooperatives as a way of encouraging a democratic and non- hierarchical approach to work. We also encourage cooperatives to have strong links with the community and to the people they trade with.
Amend WR632, second sentence to read: "We also encourage co-operatives to have strong links with the community and the people they trade with, and to encourage and enable high levels of member participation."
Proposed by Alex Lawrie, Sarah Lawrie, Nick Hope Wilson, David Taylor
WR633 We recognise that the bottom-up development of cooperatives is often more appropriate than the use of legislative devices, when seeking to establish a system of industrial democracy in those sectors of the economy dominated by small firms, sole traders or systems of (sub) contracting.
WR634 We would extend the role of Cooperative Development Agencies into areas like community banking, credit unions and ethical trusts. We would also see them providing a stronger trading link between cooperatives, Green councils and other Green movement organisations.
Amend WR634, first sentence to read: "We would maintain a comprehensive network of co-operative development agencies working with the whole range of mutual businesses, including community businesses, services run by their users, LETS and other community finance initiatives and consumer co-ops as well as worker co-ops."
Proposed by Alex Lawrie, Sarah Lawrie, Nick Hope Wilson, David Taylor.
Add after WR634 and renumber:
"WR635. We do not believe in a ‘level playing field’ between mutual and private business; well run mutuals deliver social benefits and avoid social costs, and mutuals and their investors should benefit from favourable legal and tax regimes accordingly.
"WR636. A crucial mechanism for developing the mutual sector will be a secondary market in non-voting equity in non-profit distributing enterprises, paying dividends on the value added in the business. This will enable risk investment in new co-ops, and be a flexible tool for existing enterprises to develop. The mutual sector is already perceived as honest and trustworthy, and this reputation should be protected and built upon to attract large and small investors."
Proposed by Alex Lawrie, Sarah Lawrie, Nick Hope Wilson, David Taylor.
WR635 We support the work of organisations like the International Common Ownership Movement. We would encourage other practical initiatives along these lines.
Proposed by Alex Lawrie, Sarah Lawrie, Nick Hope Wilson, David Taylor.
WR636 We encourage cooperatives to develop federated structures rather than grow in such a way that it threatens their democratic ethos and links with the community.
WR637 A Green Government will prioritise the setting up of cooperatives in sectors of the economy from which they are traditionally excluded and which have low union membership.
WR638 We would encourage trade unions to explore the use of cooperative structures and systems of mutual aid.
Amendment 35 *** (This motion has been ruled out of order by SOC, as ‘trivial’: it merely replaces the words ‘The Green Party’ by ‘We’; consequently it will not be discussed by Conference)
[Note. This Amendment enacts the Marcora Law enabling motion.] Insert as WR639 and renumber:
WR639 We would encourage private businesses to convert to co-operatives. This could be done at the initiative of the existing owners/shareholders, the workers or other stakeholders. As an important element in green economic regeneration, government money would be made available to workers in ailing businesses who were seeking to convert them to co-operatives.
WR639 The Green Party would encourage private businesses to convert to co-operatives. This could be done at the initiative of the existing owners/shareholders, the workers or other stakeholders. As an important element in green economic regeneration, government money would be made available to workers in ailing businesses who were seeking to convert them to co-operatives.
Replace last sentence in WR639 with: "Shares held in the business would be converted into non-voting equity and new ‘voting shares’ made available to the appropriate stakeholders only. The voting shares would not deliver any financial return, but just entitle the holders to equal votes at the business’ AGM. Shareholders already understand that if they do not ensure good management, they may lose value in their shares. They should also be aware that if they do not ensure ethical and responsible management, they may lose their voting rights. Of course, it may very well be that shareholders will see it as being in their interest to convert to mutual status; there should still be a ballot in order to confirm that the stakeholders are able and willing to take on the responsibility."
Proposed by Alex Lawrie, Sarah Lawrie, Nick Hope Wilson, David Taylor.
WR640(i) The consumer cooperative is one of the best expressions of a process of consumer awakening and should be encouraged as a step towards real consumer power. We support such cooperatives because they are founded on the principles of mutual aid, and are one way of breaking the monopoly of retailing held by a small group of multinationals. We should ensure that workers within such organisations are given a significant say in the running of the company, particularly in how the work is done.
Proposed by Alex Lawrie, Sarah Lawrie, Nick Hope Wilson, David Taylor.
Investor/Shareholder Rights and Responsibilities
WR640(ii) We encourage employees with shares in their company to combine with other small shareholders. This is one way of giving people a real say in the running of a company and thereby taking more responsibility for its future. We would legislate to increase the provision of company information to shareholders and improve the democratic channels of large businesses.
WR641 A Green government would pass legislation allowing for the democratisation of Pension funds, as one way of getting millions of people to take on direct responsibility for their actions. This should be done in consultation with the appropriate trade union(s) but the channels of decision making should encompass all contributors to these funds.
WR642 Where there is specific need for urgent action and the redirection of a particular company towards more social useful and environmentally friendly goals; and there is a demand from the other stakeholders for control of the company; then the government may use legislation to buy a "golden share" in that company. This gives the stakeholders (to whom the government would relinquish power) majority control of the company, for the price of one share, it does not directly affect the price of the other shares or the dividends which are paid. However, we recognise that its use would be limited by the growth of multi-national companies and challenges made under international law.
WR643 The Green Party encourages the growth of Employee Share Ownership Plans. within the firm.
The Self Employed
Policies and Objectives
WR650 By encouraging inter-trading, we hope to break with the system of contracting and sub-contracting which is built into many modern forms of production and makes many cooperatives and small, community based firms, dependent on a few big internationally based purchasers and suppliers.
WR651 Other businesses will benefit by a more ethical approach to trading, with the emphasis on mutual aid, trust and interdependence. Suppliers and buyers can also use their economic power as a means of encouraging socially useful and environmentally friendly production.
WR652 The self regulation of communities and industries within a system of Labour Courts, will increase people's sense of participation in, and control over, their working lives.
WR653 In addition to the personal autonomy gained through the Citizen’s Income scheme, we aim to provide the resources and the tools by which people can engage in voluntary activities outside the formal economy.
Insert new section "Volunteers and Carers" [Note. WR660-WR665.]
WR660 Many organisations rely on the work of volunteers, such as charities, campaigning and community groups, and political parties. The Green Party acknowledges the social value of volunteering and of the voluntary sector in general. Volunteers should be treated with respect and valued for their contribution.
WR661 Organisations should not replace paid employees with volunteers. The introduction of the Citizens Income will provide all citizens with a level of economic security. This will put more people in a position to make choices between paid work and volunteering or a combination of both - and is likely to lead to an increase in voluntary work. (see EC732)
WR662 There is a need for accountability especially when dealing with members of the public. Those volunteers working face to face with the public need support and back-up from staff and managers. Provision needs to be made to ensure volunteers have sufficient insurance cover. Volunteers should also be police checked when working with vulnerable people.
WR663 Appropriate preparation should be made for the arrival of a volunteer. They should be provided with the facilities they need to do their volunteering. Working conditions should not be less favourable for volunteers. They should receive an induction including information about the organisation they are working with and how their contribution fits within the organisation. They should not be asked to do only boring, routine work or work that is dangerous or illegal. Volunteers should be encouraged to complete relevant training and to take part in appropriate staff meetings where possible. They should not be expected to work longer hours than employees. They should be entitled to regular breaks, have comparable leave entitlements and receive appropriate training and travel expenses. References should be provided for volunteers.
WR664 Much social care is still done in this country by volunteers -partners, children, parents, friends & neighbours all contribute to helping those in need of care. The Green Party believes that volunteer carers should be recognised as doing valuable work & Citizen's Income will help those unable to do paid work as well as fulfilling caring obligations (see SW300 & EC732).
WR665 The Green Party supports the current position of Invalid Care Allowance or Carer’s Allowance but would substantially increase it so that carers were paid the minimum wage.
The role of Local Authorities
Policies and Principles
WR670 Local authorities should use their power as suppliers, purchasers and contractors to promote these principles.
WR671 They should look at their own organisation and see how it could be changed to introduce an element of workplace democracy.
WR672 Local authorities can develop support networks for mutual aid and voluntary organisations; co-operatively run local businesses and those who are struggling to establish a system of workplace democracy within a conventional firm. These networks should include shared pools of finance, expertise and information.
WR673 The relevant authority could offer a low standard rate of return on borrowing, as an incentive to firms introducing more co-operative methods of working. We could also give these firms priority in the provision of business expertise, cheap accommodation and support for research and development projects.
WR680 We recognise that many businesses (including denationalised ones) are now multinational concerns which makes it more difficult for the workers within one country to have influence over the actions of their employers.
WR681 We will encourage the formation of links between those communities and trade unions which are directly affected by a multinational company, or its subsidiaries. We also need intergovernmental action and legislation by the EU to introduce workplace democracy at this level.
Proposed by Policy Committee: contact Michelle Valentine; other signatories Danny Bates, Angela Thomson, Brian Heatley, Alan Francis, Tim Beaumont.
Section C – Policy Motions
C1. Updating Pensions Policy (submitted by Policy Committee)
SOC Note – amendments marked *** were submitted by the proposers, with the motion.
Synopsis. Our present pensions policy is to replace the present state pension with Citizen's Income at the Minimum Income Guarantee level (about £100 pw). This motion retains this policy in the short term, but adds a link to the rise in earnings. It also proposes further long term changes including a new and additional state work related pension scheme, ending the present tax regime for pensions, which mainly benefits the better off, and strengthening workers' control of private occupational pension schemes.
Delete EC735 to EC738 and replace with
EC735. The foundation of Green Party policy on state pensions is our policy on Citizen's Income, which will provide a basic pension to enable all to live with dignity in old age. Beyond that people should be able to contribute to a further state work-related state pension, which would also provide for carers. People may choose to save further for their old age through private schemes, but should receive no tax incentive to do so. Where workers participate in a private occupational pension scheme, they should control that scheme.
In EC735 second sentence: After the words "further state" delete the words "work-related state"
Proposed by Clive Lord, Alison Marshall, Brenda Smithson, John Phillips, Brian Leslie
Short Term policies
EC736. Today's pensioners deserve a state pension which is sufficient to cover their basic needs and to enable them to live with dignity as of right, without the need for additional means-tested benefits. The Green Party would immediately introduce a Citizen's Pension, which would bring their incomes up to a level no lower than the "Minimum Income Guarantee."
EC737. Unlike the current system these payments will be unconditional, given as a right of citizenship and not be subject to means testing. The value of the Citizen's Pension will be up-rated annually based on changes in (a) average earnings and (b) the price of basic goods and services. There will be additional supplements paid to those with special needs. These will include payments to cover the costs of residential health care, should this become necessary.
EC738. Changes to existing occupational pension arrangements should only take place with the agreement of the affected workforce, existing pensioners and their representatives.
Long term policies
EC739. All men and women aged 65 or over will receive an enhanced level of Citizen's Income, called the Citizen's Pension, set at a level to cover basic needs and to enable them to live with dignity. This would continue to bring pensioner incomes up to a level no lower than the "Minimum Income Guarantee" and continue the link with average earnings and the price of basic goods and services. Single pensioners will receive a rate greater than half the rate for a pensioner couple. As with Citizen's Income generally, there will be additional supplements paid to those with special needs, the payment will not be means tested, and will not depend upon a contribution record.
Amendment 2 ***
Delete the third sentence of EC739.
EC740. There will be a new state contributory work related pension scheme in addition to Citizen's Income. Workers will contribute in proportion to their income, and carers will be credited with contributions. The level of an individual's additional pension will depend upon their contribution record, not their earnings. This scheme will be compulsory, without the option of opting out to a private scheme. Payments from the scheme will be consolidated with the person's Citizen's Pension.
Amendment 3 ***
Delete the third sentence of EC740.
Delete fourth sentence of EC740
Proposed by Brian Heatley, Danny Bates, Michelle Valentine, Alan Francis
Amend EC740 to read: "There will be an additional contributory state-run pension scheme to which contributions will be voluntary, However, carers will be credited with contributions to this scheme. Payments from the scheme will be consolidated with the person’s Citizen’s Pension."
Proposed by Clive Lord, Alison Marshall, Brenda Smithson, John Phillips, Brian Leslie
EC741. Workers may take their pension from the state contributory work related pension scheme anytime after their 50th birthday, but the amount will be actuarially reduced (unless they receive a disability pension) depending on the amount of time until their 65th birthday.
EC742. People will still be able to provide for themselves in old age through private savings schemes. However, there would be no tax relief for contributions to private pension schemes, and so the distinction between pensions and other savings products would disappear. It would still be possible to use such savings to buy an annuity (which would not then be taxed on receipt), but no longer compulsory to do so. There will also be the option of contributing to local Community Pension Schemes.
EC743. Where companies run an occupational pension scheme, the scheme must only be run for the benefit of workers and pensioners, whose representatives must form a majority on the Board of Trustees.
Renumber existing EC740 to EC743 as EC745 to EC749.
Contact Brian Heatley, other signatories Danny Bates, Michelle Valentine, Angela Thomson, Alan Francis.
C2. Allotments and urban food growing.
Add new section to Agriculture chapter of the MfSS
The Green Party recognises the vital role that allotments have to play, particularly in maximising the potential for urban food growing. Allotments need to be recognised for their environmental, health and social benefits. These include: the provision of fresh affordable food, a reduction in "food miles", the provision of open space and wildlife habitats, the reduction of waste through composting and the absence of food packaging, physical exercise, educational opportunities, and a contribution to community life. The Green Party will introduce the following policies:
In part b) add second sentence: "Where housing estates are being redeveloped or newly built, allotment site provision should also be made with them."
Proposed by Jon Lucas, Charlie Bolton, Graham Davey, Keith Wiltshire
Add new part g) at end of motion: "Allotment provision must be tailored to the needs of those who wish to take them up. This should include creating different sized plots to suit differing needs, and ensuring provision of sites is as close as practicable to all who would like them. Opportunities for allotment sharing should also be allowed."
Proposed by Jon Lucas, Charlie Bolton, Graham Davey, Keith Wiltshire
Contact Darren Johnson: other signatories; Keith Magnum, Noel Lynch, Jenny Jones, Ian Wingrove.
C3. State funding of political parties (submitted by Policy Committee)
Synopsis. This motion resolves the contradiction between AD613 and PG317 by making it clear that we think state funding of political parties should depend on the number of votes cast at a previous election rather than on the number of candidates who stood at a previous election.
SOC Note –
AD613 - U.K. political parties will be funded by the State. Once a party achieves 5% of the votes cast in a parliamentary general election, they then receive an annual payment from the Exchequer. This will be paid on a sliding scale dependent on the number of votes cast at that previous election. Candidates' deposits will not be required at any election and instead signatories supporting the candidate's nomination will be required, the number of signatories being dependent on the size of the electorate at any given election.
PG317- Parties will receive state funding dependent on the number of prospective MP's or Councillors who stood at the last election, provided they gained a minimum average share of the vote in the seats they contested.
Contact Brian Heatley; other signatories Danny Bates, Angela Thomson, Michelle Valentine, Alan Francis.
C4. New policy on abortion (submitted by Policy Committee)
Synopsis. The Green Party currently has no policy on abortion. Yet it is something Greens have been asked about on many occasions. This motion adds a brief policy on abortion to the Health section of the MfSS, offering a moderate, balanced position.
Insert into "Health" policy section, and renumber as appropriate:
H313. The fact that the number of abortions carried out in England and Wales continues to rise should be of concern to all. Given the health risks associated with any medical and surgical procedure and many people's moral discomfort with induced terminations, it is entirely understandable that many wish to see this number significantly reduced.
Delete H313 and renumber; in first sentence of H314 delete the words "However," and "therefore".
Proposed by Danny Bates, Alan Francis, Spencer Fitz-Gibbon, Michelle Valentine, Angela Thomson
Delete H313 and renumber
Proposed by Athene Reiss, Molly Scott Cato, Jenny Linsdell, Lilla Patterson
H314. However, the Green Party recognises that, above all else, abortions are the result of unwanted pregnancies, and believes that the best approach is therefore to put a strategy in place which aims to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies - particularly among teenagers. Such a strategy will involve a number of different policies, including:
Replace the first two sentences of H314 with "The Green Party recognises the problems caused by unwanted pregnancies and supports a multi-policy strategy to reduce them, including:"
Proposed by Athene Reiss, Molly Scott Cato, Jenny Linsdell, Lilla Patterson
a) ensuring adequate sex education in all schools (see ED307). This should be done at a sufficiently early age that children should be fully aware of the potential consequences of sexual activity before they are likely to become sexually active. Schools should also teach life skills, including those relating to caring for and raising children, so that young people feel better prepared to become parents when the time is right for them (see ED305).
b) ensuring adequate financial and social support for parents, particularly lone parents and those with disabled children, so that women do not feel pressure to terminate a pregnancy purely because they would be unable to make financial ends meet (see EC730-733 and SW520-521).
c) ensuring adequate provision of free family planning advice by properly trained health workers and counsellors (see H301) and the provision of free contraceptives. Children under the age of consent should feel fully able to seek such facilities without their parents having to be informed.
Delete final sentence of H314 and replace with: "To ensure proper protection of their rights and wellbeing, children under the age of consent should feel fully able to seek such support and facilities without their parents necessarily having to be informed."
Proposed by Danny Bates, Alan Francis, Spencer Fitz-Gibbon, Michelle Valentine, Jonathan Dixon, Angela Thomson
H315. The Green Party will not support any change to the current laws on abortions which would aim to make it more difficult for women to obtain them. Such a change in the law would do nothing to address the underlying factors which lead to women seeking abortions. Instead, it is likely to drive them into going elsewhere for the operations - either overseas or to illegal practitioners in this country - which will increase both the distress and the health risks for those involved.
H316. The Green Party recognises that the decision whether or not to continue with a pregnancy is never undertaken lightly and can have serious and long-lasting consequences. The Green Party believes that counselling should be offered to every woman considering an abortion. However, the ultimate decision about whether or not to terminate a pregnancy should always lie with the pregnant woman who has to deal with the consequences of that decision.
Delete from first sentence of H316 "and can have serious and long-lasting consequences"
Proposed by Athene Reiss, Molly Scott Cato, Jenny Linsdell, Lilla Patterson
Contact Danny Bates; other signatories Brian Heatley, Angela Thomson, Alan Francis.
C5. Monetary Reform motion 2 (reinstate policy deleted by previous Conference)
In New Economics Foundation publication 'Creating New Money', Joseph Huber and James Robertson argue that reforming the UK money supply along the lines suggested in this motion would increase Government annual revenue by about £49 billion. The Green Party should use the debate on the Euro to promote monetary reform.
In their book 'Creating New Money' (New Economics Foundation), Joseph Huber and James Robertson argue that reforming the UK money supply along the lines suggested in this motion would increase Government annual revenue by about £49 billion. This is equivalent to 15% of total government revenue from taxation. Monetary reform is thus a potentially massive source of funds for public good. Monetary reform is so important that the Green Party should use the debate on the Euro to promote monetary reform.
1. Update the Manifesto for a Sustainable Society as follows then renumber accordingly:
After EC662 insert the following:
EC663 Central banks should create the amount of new non-cash money (as well as cash) they decide is needed to increase the money supply, by crediting it to their governments as public revenue. Governments should then put it into circulation by spending it.
EC664 It should become infeasible and be made illegal for anyone else to create new money denominated in an official currency. Commercial banks will thus be excluded from creating new credit as they do now, and be limited to credit-broking as financial intermediaries.
In the current EC664:
Delete from the first sentence ', and the setting of base interest rates'.
Delete from the last sentence 'on the setting of base interest rates'.
In the current EC665:
Delete the words 'will be empowered to create credit in the same way that commercial banks currently do, and'.
2. The Green Party resolves:
To make arguments for monetary reform central to its opposition to the adoption of the Euro.
Contact: Jonathan Spink; other signatories Sophie Angibaud, Anouk Angibaud, Armel Angibaud.
C6. Monetary Reform motion 1 (reinstate policy deleted by previous Conference)
Synopsis: As the world's economy approaches total collapse under the weight of the exponentially growing debts (example: US National Debt of $2.2 TRILLION means $7,333 per head, on top of their personal mortgage/credit card, etc., debts), the EWGP opted at the last Spring Conference to reject a positive policy of monetary reform to address this issue. In doing so, it did not consider what was being deleted from its existing policy in passing the amended motion. This motion proposes to reinstate that long-standing policy (formerly as EC662 and EC663).
After EC660, insert new paragraphs EC661 and EC662 as below, and renumber.
EC661 Under the current banking system, money is created predominantly as interest-bearing debt by commercial banks and the financial institutions. This will gradually be replaced by one in which money is created interest-free for the benefit of the community. The place of the commercial banks in financing enterprise will gradually be taken by mediating, non-profit local community banks providing low-cost finance, both at district and regional levels (EC512).
EC662 Phased restrictions on the powers of commercial banks and other institutions to create money by credit can be introduced by such means as reserve asset ratio requirements, special deposits, personal credit controls, together with more directive guidance to banks and building societies to limit lending.
Contact: Brian Leslie; other signatories: Molly Scott Cato, Helen Trask, Peter Lang.
Section D (organisational motions)
D1. Green Party to stand candidates in elections to House of Lords (submitted by GPRC)
This conference resolves that with regards to the House of Lords:
The Green Party will stand in any elections to the House of Lords. It requests the Regional Council to prepare candidate selection procedures for consideration by conference. These should be prepared once the method of election is known.
The Green Party will make nominations for non-elected House of Lords seats if it is invited or is eligible to do so. Conference requests the Regional Council to prepare draft selection procedures for nomination to the House of Lords for consideration by conference.
Contact Graeme McIver (GPRC co-chair); other signatories Bridget Green, Angela Thomson, John Norris.
D2. Prevents policy motions being resubmitted within two years
Synopsis: This motion seeks to stop people bringing policy motions to Conference which aim to re-open the same arguments and re-present policy proposals already defeated in a Conference vote. It sets a minimum period of two years before such proposals can be brought back again.
In the Standing Orders for the Conduct of Conference, Appendix A, Section 3 (Policy Motions), add the following paragraph.
"3.1. A policy motion will also be ruled out of order by the SOC if it seeks to significantly amend the principles passed in a policy motion or Voting Paper less than two years previously, or if it seeks to re-present a policy proposal which has been debated and defeated at Conference less than two years previously. The Policy Committee shall advise the SOC in such cases."
Add at end of motion:
"In SOCC Section C 9f after ‘consultation’ insert:
or seeks to significantly amend the principles passed in a policy motion or Voting Paper less than two years previously, or if it seeks to re-present a policy proposal which has been debated and defeated at Conference less than two years previously."
Proposed by Alan Francis, Jonathan Dixon, Danny Bates, Michelle Valentine, Angela Thomson
Contact Jonathan Dixon: other signatories; Clive Lord, Danny Bates, Tim Beaumont, Alan Francis
D3. Create GPEX Publications Co-ordinator
SOC Note – the amendment marked with *** was submitted by the proposers, with the motion
Following a decision of the Executive, this motion creates a new GPEX Publications Co-ordinator to deal with the production and distribution of Party publications. It also offers the option of placing the convenorship of the Green World Editorial Board with the new co-ordinator, while retaining the principle of electing the other Board members at Conference.
PART (A) In the Constitution of the Green Party, section 7 (Green Party Executive) subparagraph (ii), in the first sentence change "nine" to "ten", and add the following to the list of co-ordinators:
"(j) Publications Co-ordinator;"
PART (B) In the Constitution of the Green Party, section 12 (Green World),
make the following changes:
a) in sub-paragraph (iv), add the following after "consisting of:" and renumber accordingly:
"a. The Publications Co-ordinator, who shall be responsible for convening the editorial board and who shall be a voting member of it"
b) delete the whole of point 3. ("A member of the Party Executive..." to "...the operations of Green World and of the Party Executive") and renumber accordingly.
Amendment 1 ***
Delete all of PART (B).
Contact Andrew Cornwell: other signatories; Ceinwen Jones, Chris Ashby, John Collins.
D4. Combine GPEX Finance Coordinator with Management Co-ordinator
Synopsis: Following a decision of the Executive, this motion merges the positions of the GPEX Management and Finance Co-ordinators to reflect the fact that a full-time Office and Finance Manager is now employed by the party, thereby removing the need for a separate GPEX finance post.
In the Constitution of the Green Party, section 7 (Green Party Executive) subparagraph (ii), change the list of co-ordinators to remove ‘Finance Co-ordinator’ and replace ‘Management Co-ordinator’ with ‘Management and Finance Co-ordinator’.
Note from SOC: If this motion is passed then the introduction to para 7ii) of the Constitution will read "The Party Executive shall consist of eight voting members …"
Contact Andrew Cornwell: other signatories; Ceinwen Jones, Chris Ashby, John Collins.
D5. Pre-conference postal ballot for contentious motions (submitted by Wirral GP)
Background: As no more than 10% of the membership attends Conference, there is a need to strengthen empowerment, democracy and the authority of Conference. Therefore the whole membership should have the opportunity to be more involved in the decision making process with Motions that are exceptionally important and contentious.
Amend SOCC Sections C/E thus:
Add new para 12 to Section C: "In order to inform the debate at Conference any motion(s) as described in section 10c above which Standing Orders Committee deem sufficiently important or contentious shall be subject to a postal ballot of members.
The full text of the motion(s) in question shall be included with the First Agenda summary sent to all members with Green Activist and members will be invited to vote for or against the motion(s) and return their vote(s) to SOC as with the prioritisation ballot referred to in SOCC D1. The result of this vote will be included in the SOC report to Conference in the Final Agenda."
Add new para. after SOCC E5d ; "The result of any motion subject to the ballot procedure described in para. Cl2 above shall be made available to Conference at the start of the debate on the motion".
Contact Garnett Bowler: other signatories; George Bowler, Stuart Harvey, Peter Hogg.
D6. On Shell site, near Reading
Conference notes the disturbing evidence of radioactive and chemical contamination in the vicinity of the former Shell site at Earley, Reading, which was brought to the Green Party's attention at the Autumn 2002 conference.
Conference instructs Green Party Executive to appoint one of its members to write to the UK Government requesting urgent attention to the matter. This to include:
• Full co-operation with the investigations by the Chemical and Nuclear Divisions of the Environmental Directorate of the European Commission.
• Investigation of the contamination of the site and full disclosure of the findings, accompanied by an open assessment of the scale and consequences of the contamination.
• De-contamination of the site.
• A programme to address the public health impact of the site on local residents, provision of appropriate medical care and compensation to victims.
• Investigation into the role of Government agencies and departments at national and local level in this matter.
Contact Jacob Sanders: other signatories; Elise Benjamin, Craig Simmons, Larry Sanders (all Oxfordshire GP)
D7. Principal / Deputy Principal Speaker
Amend the part of para 7ii of the constitution which currently reads "Elections to GPEX shall be by a postal ballot of all members of the party" to read "Elections to these GPEX posts shall be by a postal ballot of all members of the party"
Replace Constitution para. 7(iv) with:
There shall be a Green Party Principal Speaker and Green Party Deputy Principal Speaker, elected annually as follows. A Female Principal Speaker Elect and a Male Principal Speaker Elect will be SEPARATELY elected by postal ballot of all members of the Party, voting to close within one week of the end of the Annual Conference, as for the postal ballot for voting members of the Green Party Executive.
Whichever one of the Male Principal Speaker Elect and the Female Principal Speaker Elect has the greater vote, as determined by the Returning Officer, will be the Green Party Principal Speaker; and whichever one has the lesser vote, will be the Green Party Deputy Principal Speaker.
If either post, Female Principal Speaker Elect or Male Principal Speaker Elect, but not both, is vacant after the postal ballot, the formally elected Principal Speaker Elect, Male or Female, will become Green Party Principal Speaker. If the post of Green Party Principal Speaker becomes casually vacant, an elected Green Party Deputy Principal Speaker shall automatically become Green Party Principal Speaker. All other casual vacancies shall be filled by the appointment of Green Party Executive.
In the first paragraph of replacement para 7iv), delete the word ‘SEPARATELY’.
Proposed by John Phillips, N Harvey, Brenda Smithson, Heidi Smithson
Contact John Phillips; other signatories Brenda Smithson, Heidi Smithson, Clive Lord.
D8. Fixes amount paid by Autonomous regional parties to Green Party of England and Wales
SOC have ruled that if this motion is passed it will NOT apply to the figure that has been agreed after negotiations between Wales Regional Party and GPRC.
Synopsis: Currently, an Autonomous Regional Party and GPRC must negotiate an agreement as to how much should be paid to the Green Party for the services it provides. This motion replaces that arrangement with one in which this sum is a fixed and specified proportion of membership income.
In the Constitution of the Green Party, Appendix B (Autonomous Regional Parties), replace paragraphs 3 and 4 with the following, and renumber accordingly:
"3. An Autonomous Regional Party shall be responsible for paying the local party capitations due to local parties within the region. After the deduction of both these and the normal regional party capitations, the Autonomous Regional Party shall be entitled to retain a further 25% of the balance of membership subscriptions paid by members within the region, in order to cover the administration services provided by the Autonomous Regional Party. The remaining amount shall be due to the Green Party to cover the cost of services to the regional party and its members provided by the Green Party, including the provision of sufficient quantities of Green World to the Autonomous Regional Party to allow them to be sent to all their members. Amounts due to the Green Party shall be remitted on a quarterly basis."
Delete proposed para 3 and replace by:" Any new autonomous region shall receive the total membership subscription of members of the Green Party of England and Wales resident within that region, regardless of whether these are paid to the Area Party or to any central or other office. That autonomous area shall pay the local party capitations within the region, and shall return to the Green party 90% of the national capitation figure, 10% being retained to cover additional regional party costs due to being autonomous. The costs of production and distribution of Green World to be carried by the Green Party as for any non-autonomous region."
Proposed by Owen Clarke, Ernie Hamer, Marian Sweeting, Geraldine Layton
Contact Jonathan Dixon: other signatories; Bridget Green, Graeme McIver, Penny Kemp.
D9. Open Source Software
Synopsis: This motion asks GPEX to look at Open Source Software in future internal software procurement, but makes it clear that conference does not seek to pre-empt or determine what software, proprietary or Open Source, should be used.
i Open Source software is often less buggy, more secure and offers better support, through more intimate knowledge of software and involvement in its development.
ii Some types of software are not available from the Open source community or are too early in development to be considered for use in professional environments.
iii Open office and Mozilla are two examples of mature desktop Open Source software that may be appropriate for some internal tasks
iv Non-proprietary solutions have great potential cost benefits and do not lock the user into single software solutions.
v Open Source server software
Conference therefore does not seek to determine the use of software internally but asks:
i GPEX to consider the possibilities of Open Source Software, such as the Windows and Linux-based OpenOffice, in any future internal software review.
ii To prefer Open Source solutions in procuring web-based services.
Contact Jim Killock: other signatories; Jonathan Spink, Peter Varley, Dorienne Robinson.
Section E (Draft Voting Papers)
E1. Social Welfare DVP
Synopsis: This draft voting paper updates the existing Social welfare section of the MfSS and aims to provide a practical working document for councillors, carers and those receiving care while adhering to our green principles. It has sections on those areas currently undertaken by local authority social services departments.
SW 100 The Green Party will implement policies to promote social welfare for all. Policies will be adopted that will enhance the well being of everyone, encouraging social cohesion whilst recognising cultural diversity.
SW 101 Everyone is a member of society and should be valued and honoured for themselves. The Green Party knows that we are all interdependent and that many people need support at some stage in their lives. The basic aim is that all people should be able to lead an empowered and fulfilled life.
SW 102 Policies cover those areas currently addressed by social services departments - children and families, older people, mental health, physical disabilities and learning disabilities.
SW 103 The Green Party accepts that residential care will always be needed for some people, some permanent and some temporary. Social inclusion and caring relationships could be achieved by putting groups in touch with one another i.e. small children and elderly residents in adjoining homes if they have to be in residential care.
SW 104 The Green Party believes that current provision is at best inadequate and at worse disempowering, discriminatory and ineffective. People who are desperately in need do receive a service, but it is usually minimal because only the cheapest option is allowed. It is not always the option that best promotes independence, and very little, if any choice is available and in turn this puts stress on carers and people receiving the service.
SW 200 In so far as it is possible to remedy social problems by purely financial means, the Green Party’s citizen’s income will enable people to have a more flexible approach to work, retirement and caring for others.
SW 201 Citizen’s income is designed to cover the basic needs of an able bodied person. The current benefit system falls way below this level so consequently the supplements necessary to bring payments for those with disabilities or health problems up to an adequate level are considerably larger than they will need to be in conjunction with citizen’s income. (See the section on Economy especially EC732)
Children and families
SW 300 All children have the right to be born wanted, loved and looked after by their parents in a secure and happy home.
SW 301 However although families are often thought of as the ideal social institution to bring up children, many children do not live in nuclear families and sometimes a child's natural parents cannot or do not want to look after them.
SW 302 The Green Party recognizes the many challenges and stresses that parenting can bring and will support and encourage a wide range of community and self-help services for children and their carers e.g. Homestart, family centres, adopt-a-grandparent schemes.
SW 303 Communities will be expected to provide social support for all children from nursery schools to clubs. (see existing P506)
SW 304 Family courts and mediation should help to find the right solution for each child in the event of family breakdown with children being given a say in their future.
SW 305 The Green Party notes the lack of people willing to foster and adopt children. The Green Party would broaden the criteria for fostering and adoption to include all types of relationships - single, married, co-habiting and homosexual couples.
A wide range of support services will accompany any fostering arrangement, including financial help, respite care and emergency phone-line.
SW 306 Much is made of "stranger danger" but many children are at risk of physical, verbal or sexual abuse from members of their own family. The Green Party will set up "safe houses" where abused or otherwise stressed children can find sanctuary (see existing P506)
SW 307 In some cases, such as after abuse, children may be unable to live in the intimate and emotionally demanding environment of a family. Small homes should be provided by the public sector, run by highly qualified, supported and well paid staff. These should provide the level of therapeutic and 'normalising' care required to enable the children to reach their potential and become fully participating members of society.
SW 400 Ageism is rife in our society. To those over 50 our society seems to be designed and organized for the needs and benefit of youth.
SW 401 Many industries and companies are not interested in employing older people despite their knowledge, stability and reliability.
SW 402 Retirement means that people no longer get paid for the work they do but that does not mean they stop working. The Green Party's citizen’s income scheme would enable retirement age to be completely flexible recognizing that some want to retire as soon as possible and others want to continue working (SEE EC732)
SW 403 Many voluntary organizations depend on the work and commitment of people who have retired from paid work. Traditional economics ignores such contributions but citizen's income will enable people to work part-time, flexible hours and home working.
SW 404 People of all ages will be encouraged to study and take up new activities and hobbies
SW 405 Treatment for illnesses will be based on the condition not the age of the person or the region where they live.
SW 406 If residential care is needed then it will be provided free and house owners would not be required to sell their home to pay for such care.
Mental illness and emotional vulnerability
SW 500 The majority of people may suffer emotional vulnerability or mental illness at some point in their lives. Some people suffer emotional vulnerability or mental illness with no obvious cause, or there may be no outside cause, and the state of the sufferer may be genetic or related to physical illness. (See also H313)
SW 501 Mental illness can be mild or severe; of short duration or lifelong; chronic, acute or a mixture of the two. The needs of different people must be assumed to be different, but some elements need to be held in common.
SW 502 People who have mental illness or emotional issues to deal with need supportive environments and safe places to go. Day centres, gardening and creative projects, groups in which to think about what is going on, and trained people to talk to are a minimum requirement. The Green Party would always seek to ensure the emphasis is placed on enabling people to make choices about their lives.
SW 503 Outreach workers need to be available to visit people where they are if that is what the user wishes rather than making appointments which a patient may be unable to keep.
SW 504 Support for families and carers needs to be in person rather than on the telephone and provided independently of those operating the service to the user.
SW 505 Far more in-patient beds are needed than at present.
SW 506Activities should be available in hospitals, but not compulsory.
SW 507 Where a person is detained under a Home Office section, this should be reviewed annually. Patients should not be locked up in prisons, nor moved around arbitrarily and without notice. However ill they are, a legal advocate should be available to explain the situation to the patient, and his/her family if appropriate. The patient should be adequately represented at all times.
SW 508 The practice of having a 'nearest relative' or similar, to be chosen with the patient, who will be notified of any changes in the patient's care and who may seek advocacy or a change of advocacy on his/her part will be extended.
SW 509 Psychiatric staff should be trained to the highest standard, and supported, supervised and remunerated fairly, as befits demanding, skilled work.
SW 510 Patients should be informed fully about what the drugs they are given will do, including their limitations and unwanted effects. Before drugs are administered other therapies should be tried, basis health checks should be carried out even if it is known that only drug treatment will help.
SW 511 Before a person is prescribed anti-depressants, which are notoriously addictive, patients should be given access to other forms of treatments including talking therapies and rest.
Add new SW599:
The Green Party has endorsed the social model of disability, and so therefore its social welfare initiatives will be there to support the removal of the attitudinal, organisational and environmental barriers so that disabled people can live a full life with the appropriate support and equipment.
Disabled people with different impairments, regardless of the level or severity of impairment will have the right to access the range of life-styles which is currently available to every citizen. Furthermore disabled people regardless of severity or level of impairment will have the right to live in their chosen accommodation with the person(s) of their choosing.
The Green Party recognises the need of Disabled people with sensory, physical and intellectual impairments and mental health issues to be provided with the means of organising their own personal assistance and equipment and aids in order to have a fulfilled life.
Social Services departments will use a needs assessment. Disabled person will undertake a self-assessment of what they need in order to maintain oneself and have the opportunity to access and participate in activities and experiences that non disabled people automatically enjoy.
Social Workers will support the disabled person to draw up a support plan which clearly identifies what support and equipment is provided and who is responsible for providing it. This plan will be the disabled person's entitlement. Disabled people will have the right for an advocate to represents his / her views.
Disabled people will be entitled to mobility aids and communication aids and communication aids assessment and thereafter any recommendations will become entitlements.
Social Services will make available different models of providing individualised support for disabled people to live in their chosen accommodation, either shared with other people are their choice or by themselves. Such models would include direct payments, agency contracts, trusts and other 3rd party schemes. Social Services will be prohibited from buying in services on a "block" contract.
To remove the barriers disabled people with multiple impairments have with accessing services, social services department will hold a single budget for disabled people covering social and health services.
In order to finance disabled peoples individual support packages, social services with the health authority will be required not to replace service users who have left or died with new service users. This therefore allows transfer of resources without closing down a service which existing service users want to use.
Proposed by Simone Aspis, Tim Turner, Brian Orr, Shahrar Ali, Peter Murry
SW 600 Equal opportunities must start from day one. Children with disabilities should be given the same opportunity for pre-school and school places. Specialised equipment and adjustments to buildings and methods of teaching should be made so they can function as independently as possible; support within mainstream schools should be available where necessary. The same applies for higher and further education, e.g. accommodation in universities.
SW 601 Aids for personal mobility are very expensive and should be available free. Buses, metros, trams and trains, and also their stations, need to be accessible. If local authorities are going to impose road tolls or have no disabled parking, there needs to be a fully accessible public transport alternative.
SW 602 Stricter laws should be introduced to make public buildings and workplaces more accessible. These laws need to be properly enforced. Financial aid should be provided to service providers and employers to enable them to make changes necessary to allow equal access for all.
SW 603 Equipment for people to maintain health and all local leisure facilities (gyms, pools, cinemas, stadia) should be accessible. Healthy people are more able to contribute to society.
SW 604 It is important for people with disabilities to be part of the socialisation process that their able-bodied peers experience. Teenagers with disabilities should be given help with care to be independent of parents. They need support and opportunities for personal development.
SW 605 Basic personal care for severely disabled people is extremely expensive. Adequate financial assistance for disabled people should enable them to contribute to society rather than them being forced to be recipients of services. People need help to cover extra expenses incurred by disability, so that people can earn and contribute.
SW 700 People with learning disabilities can vary considerably. Some were born with such a disability. However, anyone can experience illnesses which can cause brain damage or have an accident resulting in brain injury.
SW 701 The Green Party recognizes that learning disability can be very mild with little or no need for special care. Many lead "normal" lives living independently, getting jobs, forming relationships and having children.
SW 702 However, others need community care (see also H302) and this is where social welfare comes in. Carers whether professional or family and friends need to have person centred training to enable people to reach their full potential through education and life skills training.
SW 703 Over time people change and develop but sometimes people can regress and of course we all get older so needs will change. Care packages need to reflect this and at least an annual review should take place with the client and all carers involved.
SW 704 The Green Party believes that wherever possible children with learning disabilities should be taught in main stream education. However, those with severe learning disabilities may benefit from one to one teaching which only a specialist school can provide (see also ED366).
SW 705 Like all other people those with learning disabilities will be entitled to citizen's income and will be encouraged to take part in the community as much as they are able.
Economically inactive people
SW 800 The Green Party recognizes that many people choose to be economically inactive but due to economic and demographic changes many middle-aged and older people are now economically inactive involuntarily. At the national level, about 28 per cent of men older than 50 are now economically inactive; in 1975 this rate was only 7 per cent. The rates for men as a whole are 8 per cent of total inactivity, compared with only 1 per cent in 1975.
SW 801 This group faces particular social difficulties. Although the Citizen’s Income will deal with their financial needs, work has other important social and identity functions and the lack of work can lead to vulnerability and psychological and physical ill health.
SW 802 In addition, the economically inactive are likely to undertake unofficial economic activity. While such activity may have a positive impact on the local economy in many depressed areas, its lack of regulation can represent a danger to those involved, and it also means that the skills that many of these people have are lost to the official economy.
SW 803 Local authority social services departments will introduce programmes to reintegrate the economically inactive into local communities. These will involve the voluntary sharing of skills for the benefit of the community as a whole.
SW 804 In addition social spaces will be provided for this group of people and they will be encouraged to find alternative sources of identity through unpaid and leisure activities. Local leisure and arts centres will be required to include the economically inactive amongst those to whom they offer concessionary rates.
SW 900 The Green Party recognizes that much social welfare work is done by family members including some children, volunteers, charities and helplines. Such individuals would be helped by Citizen's income (EC732) and proper stable funding of voluntary organizations.
SW 901 The Green Party supports the current position of benefits. However, it would work towards streamlining it in the short and medium term and replacing it with Citizen's income in the long term.
Contact Angela Thomson: other signatories Clive Lord, Michelle Valentine, Sushila Dhall.
Section O – Out of Order Motions
O1. Public Services Policy Statement (submitted by Policy Committee)
SOC Note – This has now been approved by GPRC as a Policy Statement
Synopsis This motion summarises and reaffirms the Party's commitment to properly funded, publicly run and owned quality public services. Addressing years of neglect and under-funding, it advocates making more services available locally, free at point of use, and improving democratic accountability. It summarises Green Party opposition to privatisation and workforce casualisation.
The Green Party re-affirms its commitment to the provision of high quality public services - which should be publicly funded, publicly accountable and publicly owned.
Public services must be run and managed effectively, be responsive to the needs of service users and the public generally, and respect the rights of the workforce.
Public ownership and provision
The Party believes that there are some services that should be provided only by public bodies, including policing, the fire and other emergency services, criminal justice and prisons, the railways and London Underground, the post office and the utilities (gas, water, electricity). We would aim to bring all affected facilities back into public ownership as soon as possible. Public ownership would be national, regional or local, depending on the service.
A review would be undertaken into the future of the telecommunications industry with a view to improving public accountability and the provision of a more affordable and unified service.
In sectors with a long and well established history of private as well as public provision, such as health and education, citizens should have a right of access to a high quality public service which is publicly funded and publicly accountable.
While energy continues to be provided by the private sector, the Green Party will advocate greater and more favourable access to renewable energy provision. We oppose energy provision from nuclear sources.
Opposition to privatisation, PFI, PPP and GATS
The Green Party opposes privatisation of public services, including the Private Finance Initiative, Public-Private Partnerships, policies which lead to the depletion of local council housing stock - such as wholesale transfers to large national housing associations and the Right to Buy scheme, and mechanisms like the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), which undermine public provision and accountability of public services.
Investing in and defending local services
Public services should be provided as locally as possible. Local provision and access to public services such as schools, hospitals, libraries, nurseries, post offices and public transport is essential for sustainable communities to thrive. Green Party policies will ensure high quality local provision of such services. In the meantime, we will campaign against closures and running down of these local services, and for greater public investment for service improvement.
The Party condemns the promotion and fostering of a spurious concept of 'consumer choice' between geographically dispersed, large-scale public service facilities, such as certain schools or hospitals. Such 'choice' hides the reality of poor and dwindling local service provision.
Accountability and 'third way' provision
Immediate accountability and the duty to see that public services are provided in a given locality must lie with the most appropriate level of government. In many cases this would be at a level lower than operates now. It must remain the responsibility of government: to ensure high quality and predominantly publicly owned services are provided over the long term; to retain full democratic control of those services; and to be held fully accountable to the electorate for service provision. The Green Party opposes any arrangements for public service provision which compromises this responsibility.
The Green Party notes the new found enthusiasm of the other main political parties for the delivery of public services by voluntary, cooperative or other mutually controlled or not for profit bodies. The Party believes that these bodies have had and can continue to have an important role, but is concerned that this role must be in the context of proper public control, accountability and ownership.
The Green Party rejects the 'third way' approach to public service provision which would produce a two- or multi-tier system, undermine the principles of universal provision and public accountability and risk significant public liability for private loans. On this basis the Green Party opposes New Labour's 'foundation' hospitals and similar models of public service provision.
The Green Party believes that many of the problems of the public services result from long term under-funding by both Conservative and Labour governments. The Green Party would reduce the decline of public services by increasing public funding. Sources of greater public funding for public services include funds released by making the taxation system more progressive, including increasing income tax on top earners, and, where necessary, public borrowing. Public funding should come from the level of government to which the service is accountable, except that national funding and mechanisms must ensure there is universal access to quality public services, guaranteed to high national standards of provision.
More services free at the point of use
Many more public services should be provided free at the point of use. The Green Party would, for example, abolish charges for prescriptions, eye tests and dental treatment. In higher education we would abolish tuition fees and re-instate student grants.
Workers in the public services
All workers in the public services should be properly rewarded with permanent contracts, decent pay, pensions and conditions of service, and access to training and career development. They should have a say in how services are delivered. Empowering and giving security to workers in the public services will revive the public service ethos and ensure high quality service delivery.
The Green Party fundamentally rejects the casualisation and de-unionisation of the public services workforce.
Contact Danny Bates; other signatories Brian Heatley, Angela Thomson, Alan Francis
Reason: SOCC C9e – trivial or requiring no consequential action. No need to bring this to Conference as no new policy involved.
O2. Open Source Software
Synopsis: Extends our support for appropriate technologies to Open Source Software (OSS). OSS is free to use and improve, and freely available. African, Asian and South /Central American countries develop their own intellectual resources by using it. It is a means to break the
Microsoft monopoly and develop local economies.
SOC note – For the notes that accompanied this motion please contact the proposer.
A massive global movement is threatening to destroy one of the world's most powerful and anti-democratic monopolies -Microsoft. That movement is the Open Source movement. Microsoft and the like are a threat to sustainable development because they concentrate profit, capital and decision-making in the hands of an unrepresentative few, leaving Bill Gates the richest man in the world with a net worth in the order of $34 billion , while half of the world's 6 billion people live on less than $2 a day. 
Open Source software is an opportunity to rejuvenate sustainable, diverse local democracy and economic control; putting people and planet, before profit. This motion seeks to mandate just that.
The Green Party stands against monopoly and unfair competition, but also in favour of fair trade and global justice. In supporting local development and appropriate technologies, we should look to the open and democratic model of Open Source software.
The Green Party notes:
(i) Open Source Software is community-led, and distributed in a way that is open to all to use, modify, learn and adapt freely.
(ii) Many countries in the Americas and Asia are adopting Open Source software because of cost savings and the opportunity to develop local expertise. These include India, Pakistan, Korea, Chile and China.
Such moves can release local economies in poorer regions from dependency on Western monopolistic concerns.
Furthermore, much expertise can be found in people living in urban areas within most countries in the global south. Using open source software is a crucial way in which they can be enabled to stay within their communities and contribute their expertise, rather than moving away and contributing to the 'brain-drain'.
(iii) Open Source systems like Linux are often useful for use with older hardware and thus are a way of revitalising equipment given to projects in southern countries. Pakistan is supplying its schools with 50,000 Pentium II machines running Linux at around $100 a machine. [ref 4]
(iv) Control of security issues and other issues of copyright and access are not controlled by any monopoly but by the user and the community at large in Open source projects.
(v) OpenOffice, a replacement of Microsoft Office, has been adopted by West Lothian Police at a saving of at least £300,000. Similar projects could produce massive savings throughout the state sector.
(vi) OpenOffice is being translated into hitherto ignored minority languages such as Breton and Welsh.
The Green Party further notes:
(i) Microsoft are now charging annual fees for their new software licenses.
(ii) Microsoft software is responsible for 60% of known security holes over the last 5 years.
This Conference resolves that the Green Party will:
(i) Promote Open Source Software in government as a cost-saving and anti-monopoly strategy.
(ii) Promote Open Source / Free Software as a model for computer technology in southern countries, as it allows those countries to develop their own intellectual economy.
(iii) Encourage our government to promote Open and free standards in computing as they allow a level playing field and therefore allow small and localised firms to compete against large or monopolistic concerns.
This conference further notes that this motion does not seek to have a bearing on internal organisational or software issues.
Contact Jim Killock: other signatories; Jonathan Spink, Peter Varley, Dorienne Robinson, Danny Bates.
Reason: SOCC C9d- vague. Unclear what should follow as a result of this motion.
O3. Support the election of a Party leader
This Conference supports the election of a Party ‘leader’ who will possess no powers of patronage or control within the Party, and be always subservient to Conference policies, as guided by our policy groups.
Contact Bill Hoyes: other signatories; George Howe, Stuart Madgin, E Blakeley, Ian Murrill (all Stevenage and North Herts GP).
Reason: SOCC C9e – trivial or requiring no consequential action. Passing this motion would not commit anyone to doing anything.
O4. Approve Autonomous Regional status ballot for Yorkshire & Humberside
Synopsis: Approval for conduct of ballot among Yorkshire GP members on Autonomous Regional status.
SOC Note: The region in question is Yorkshire & Humberside rather than Yorkshire.
The Green Party notes the feeling within Yorkshire GP that the Green Party of England and Wales has focused expenditure on projects which have benefited London, the South East, and Wales rather than Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Green Party has collectively delivered more elected Green councillors than any other region and has very strong General Election votes. However the GPEW notes the desperate funding situation in Yorkshire Green Party.
The GPEW notes that Autonomous Regional status is likely to be financially beneficial to the Yorkshire Party, as it has proved beneficial to the only existing Autonomous Region.
Yorkshire Green Party’s officers are confident of being able to run the administration of an autonomous region.
The GPEW therefore agrees to the holding of a ballot on autonomous regional status among the membership of the Yorkshire Green Party using facilities to be agreed with the Yorkshire Green Party officers.
Contact Mark Hill; other signatories Andy d’Agorne, Andy Chase, David Ford (all officers of Yorkshire GP, plus Martin Love.
Reason: SOCC 9e – trivial or requiring no consequential action. There is no requirement for a Region to gain the approval of Conference before holding such a ballot.
Contact details for the motions in this agenda
Simone Aspis First Floor Flat, 40a Churchill Gardens, London, NW2 5GA 020-8459-5717
Danny Bates Basement Flat, 1 Goulton Road, London, E5 8HA 020-8525-0037
Garnette Bowler 4 Belfield Drive, Oxton, Prenton, CH43 5SJ 0151-652-1028
David Carter ERO 29 Devonshire Road, Heaton Moor, Stockport, SK4 4EF 0161-431-4154
Andrew Cornwell GPEX c/o 1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ 020-7272-4474
Jonathan Dixon 69 Wykeham Street, Scarborough, YO12 7SA 01723-501-613
Alan Francis 6 Spencer Street, New Bradwell, Milton Keynes, MK13 0DW 01908-316921
Bridget Green GPRC Grangecroft, Grange Road, Bowdon, Altrincham, WA14 3EE
Brian Heatley 141 Larkhall Lane, London, SW4 6RG 020-7720-1810
Mark Hill 14 Holly Terrace, York, YO10 4DS 01904-672489
Bill Hoyes 45 Park View, Longmeadow, Stevenage, SG2 8PS
Darren Johnson 202 Malpas Road, London, SE4 1DH 020-8694-9524
Jim Killock 1 Rhes Trefelyan, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 1AX 01248-371491
Alex Lawrie 12 North Street, Stoke sub Hamdon, Somerset, TA14 6QP 01935-826531
Brian Leslie 12 Queens Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9LU 01892-522776
Clive Lord 44 Upper Batley Low Lane, Batley, West Yorks, WF17 0AP 01924-472767
Jon Lucas 7 Kingsley Road, Greenbank, Bristol, BS5 6HF
Graeme McIver GPRC 5 Foxdale Close, Edgworth, Bolton, BL7 0BJ 01204-853-955
John Phillips 113 Wasp Nest Road, Huddersfield, HD1 6EY 01484-546062
Athene Reiss 13 Duke Street, Oxford, OX2 0HX
Jacob Sanders 6 Hertford Street, Oxford, OX4 3AJ 0118-957-2416
Jonathan Spink 40 Ewenny Road, Bridgend, CF31 3HR 01656-649358
John Street SOC 82 Babbacombe Road, Bromley, Kent, BR1 3LS 020-8460-1078
Angela Thomson 29 Pentland Avenue, Chelmsford, CM1 4AY 01245-352757
Michelle Valentine Flat 5, 27 Edge Lane, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 9JH 07949-565539
Autumn Conference & AGM 2003
St Martins College, Lancaster
September 11th – 14th
First Agenda deadline : Thursday 12th June
Final Agenda deadline : Thursday 31st July