General Secretary Appointments

Created on: 25 Jan 2018 | Last modified: 24 Aug 2018


1.1 The following resolution was approved by the Annual General Meeting in June

"This AGM instructs Council to investigate and report on the appointment process for the General Secretary with particular regard to:

(a) electing the General Secretary for a fixed term and;

(b) the General Secretary being directly elected by all members".

1.2 In 2003 the Annual General Meeting approved a resolution dealing with the constitutional changes which would be required to move to a system of direct election of the General Secretary. At the current time the appointment of the General Secretary is a matter for Council (Rule XI.9). In 2009 Council established a Working Party to consider whether the General Secretary’s position should filled by appointment or by election.

1.3 The statutory requirement on Trades Unions to elect their General Secretary was introduced by the 1987–1992 Conservative Government as part of a raft of anti-trade union laws in the early 1990s. The new legislation was opposed by the Trade Union movement at the time because it was seen to be disruptive, to undermine the work of the Trades Unions and to increase the level of State interference. The legislation also included significant restrictions on the check off system and on industrial action. The specific statutory provisions which cover the election of the General Secretary are to be found in Sections 46-61 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

1.4 The EIS is not required by law, however, to elect its General Secretary. The Certification Officer holds a list of organisations (entitled Special Register Bodies) which are exempt from the requirement to conduct elections for the position of General Secretary. There are 13 such organisations in the UK, many of which are incorporated by charter or letters patent but which also act as a trade union on behalf of their members. However, if an organisation were to include the General Secretary as a voting member of its Executive Committee, the statutory provisions with regard to the election process would come into play.

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