Constitution of the Bristol Care Workers Network
- The Care Workers Network fights for workers’ control in the health and social care sector.
- The Care Workers Network fights for better health and well-being, and better health services, in the Bristol area.
The principles of the Care Workers Network are:
- Direct democracy and self-organisation;
- Solidarity and anti-oppression; and
- Mutual aid and self-education
- The network will aim to meet monthly, in the first week of every month. It is the responsibility of the secretary to arrange monthly meetings.
- It is the responsibility of the secretary to make these meetings accessible to as many members as possible by considering members’ work, access to transport, home and family commitments and any other barriers that may prevent members attending meetings.
- Monthly meetings are open to all members and any outside individuals invited by members for a specific purpose. The secretary should circulate an agenda at least one week prior to the meeting.
Decisions made in the Care Workers’ Network shall be made according to the above principles. This means that:
- Decisions affecting the whole network will be made at monthly local meetings. Any member of the network can raise a motion to be voted on at a monthly meeting. All members present at the meeting will be eligible to vote. A motion needs to achieve majority support (i.e. over 50% in agreement) to be passed. There is no minimum attendance for decision making at local meetings, however individual members should use their discretion and consider putting off significant decisions if attendance at a monthly meeting is poor and the decision is not time limited. Any motions to be voted on in a monthly meeting should be included in the meeting agenda. It is the responsibility of members to raise any motions to be voted on with the secretary in a timely manner to allow them to be added to a meeting agenda. Only one member needs to raise a motion for it to be discussed at a local, unless the motion is to recall an administrative post holder or to make changes to the constitution, in which case a another member needs to second the motion before it is added to the meeting agenda.
- Decisions affecting individual workers in a particular workplace will be made by the workers in that workplace only. Workers can seek advice from other members of the network outside their workplace, at their discretion.
- Administrative decisions will be made by administrative post holders.
Administrative post-holders will be elected to fulfil specific roles within the network. They will be given a mandate by the members of the network and be accountable to them. If administrative post holders are unable to fulfil their roles to the satisfaction of the membership then they will be recallable to them.
Administrative post holders will hold their positions for one year, until they decide to step down from their post, or if they are recalled.
Administrative posts within the network will be:
- Treasurer; and
- Social media coordinator.
Other posts to be decided as needed.
Membership of the Care Workers’ Network will be open to anyone who works within the healthcare and social care sector, or anyone who self-identifies as a healthcare or social care worker, provided they share the aims and principles of the Network. In this context the ‘sector’ refers to private and ‘third’ sector organisations as well as the NHS and local authorities. Membership is not limited to clinical and care staff but is open to all workers within the sector including health and social care students, clerical staff, cleaners/porters, volunteers, and unpaid ‘informal’ carers.
Membership of the network is conditional on payment of monthly dues. The amount paid is at the discretion of the member making the payment, however it should not be less than 50p and not more than £10. Members are free to make additional donations to the network, however there is no obligation to make additional donations.
Membership of the Network is only open to people who share the Care Workers Network’s aims and principles. Membership is not open to workers whose job role, political affiliations or behaviour is incompatible with the aims and principles of the network. Therefore, membership is not open to:
- Serving officers in the police, prisons or armed forces;
- Full-time trade union officials;
- Officers or holders of executive positions in political parties;
- Those who have the ultimate power to hire, fire and discipline workers, or those whose role in the workplace is primarily to hire, fire or discipline workers, and;
- Members of oppressive or discriminatory organisations which promote racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and other forms of discrimination. This includes far-Right, Fascist and Nationalist organisations, homophobic organisations and so-called ‘Mens Rights Activist’ groups, among others.
Safer Spaces Agreement
Bristol Care Workers Network (BCWN) opposes all forms of oppression and discrimination, especially within our own organisation. BCWN will not be able to achieve its goals if it is not inclusive or leaves anyone marginalised, unrepresented or unwelcome.
Oppressive behaviour or phobic attitudes will not be tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to, racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and ableism. It is everyone’s responsibility to challenge prejudice and oppression within the organisation.
We aim to create an environment where members feel able to raise concerns and directly call out other members of the group if they feel an individual has breached this agreement. If you find yourself being called out, it is important that you listen to what the other person has to say with an open mind and a willingness to take criticism on board.
We aim to building relationships between all group members based on trust, support and solidarity. Achieving this is both an individual and a collective responsibility.