ATUC Constitution

The new Constitution of the ATUC was agreed at the AGM on 5th March 2014 and updated on 2nd March 2016 and 2nd March 2022.

Aberdeen Trades Union Council

Constitution (Updated March 2022)

1 - Name 


Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC, hereinafter called the Council)

2 - Aims and objectives  


A)   To provide services to affiliated branches on a wide range of industrial, social and community issues;
B)   To promote the interests of all its affiliated organisations and to secure united action on all questions affecting or likely to affect those interests, including making representations to local authorities about matters of common concern to trade unionists within the district and nominating representatives to a number of statutory committees;
C)  To act as the local body of the STUC, and to support and work for the application of such objects as the STUC may from time to time determine, including making more widely known in its area national policy declared by the STUC;
D)  To improve generally the economic and social conditions of working people, including seeking improvements to the social services, public education, housing and health;
E)   To help promote suitable cultural, educational, social and sports facilities for all working people;
F)   To act on such matters as may be referred to the Council by affiliated bodies, provided they do not conflict with the terms of their respective constitutions and their politics;
G)  To co-operate with similar associations or councils recognised by the STUC;
H)  To support union and community campaigns for dignity and respect in the workplace and beyond;
I)    To promote equality and diversity in all of its activities; and
J)    To play an active role in anti-fascist/anti-racist activity.

3 - The Duties of Council


A)   The Council shall be affiliated annually to the STUC.
B)   The council is empowered to hold by rent or purchase or lease, property or buildings or accommodation which shall be used for purposes in keeping with the objects of the Council.
C)  Property owned by the Council shall be in the power of the trustees, as defined in section 10.
D)  Management and administration of property, buildings or accommodation rented, purchased or leased by the council shall be vested in the Executive Committee.

4 - Composition and Representation

A)   The Council shall consist of appointed delegates from the affiliated Trade Unions, or chapels/branches of such Trade Unions, who have paid affiliation fees in accordance with Rule 5.
B)   Trade Unions or Branches of Trade Unions shall be entitled to one delegate for every 50 members or part thereof, affiliated to the council, provided they have paid an annual fee per affiliated member, as agreed by the Council Annual General Meeting (AGM), towards the expenses of the council.  Affiliation fees shall accompany the affiliation application form.  No Trade Union or branch thereof shall be entitled to send more than ten delegates.

5 - Delegates and members


A)   Delegates must be bona-fide members or paid officials of the organisation appointing them.
B)   Participation in council meetings shall be to nominated delegates or substitute delegates nominated in writing to the Council by their Trade Union.
C)  No delegate shall act as a delegate for more than one organisation.
D)  Delegates must conform to the rules of the Council.
E)   On appointment, each delegate’s name and address shall be forwarded to the Council Secretary on the affiliation form, who will thereafter seek endorsement by the Council of the delegate.
F)   The Council reserves the right to refuse participation to any delegate not nominated or substituted by their Trade Union.
G)  Consultative members shall be agreed at the AGM.  Then they will be allowed to speak on all matters of business at full Council and Executive meetings.  Consultative members will not have a vote, nor will they be entitled to hold Office in the Trades Union Council.
H)  Representatives of community organisations associated with the ATUC will be permitted to attend Council meetings and to participate only through Activity Reports or as invited speakers. They will not have a vote, nor will they be entitled to hold Office.

6 - Attendance


The Secretary shall keep a record of attendances at Council meetings.  This record is to be made available to affiliated organisations on request.

7 - Officers


A)   The Officers of the Council shall be:- Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Minute Secretary, Treasurer and such other officers as may be deemed necessary.
B)   Officers shall be accredited delegates to the Council, and shall be elected at the AGM.
C)  Nominations for Officer posts shall be made at the full Council meeting preceding the AGM. All Officers shall retire annually and shall be eligible for re-election.
D)  No one person may stand for more than one designated Officer post.
E)   Vacancies arising during the session may be filled by the Council on a temporary basis until the AGM.

8 - Executive Committee


A)   The Council shall appoint an Executive Committee consisting of the officers plus five additional members, all of whom shall be accredited delegates to the Council, and shall be elected at the AGM
B)   The President shall oversee all meetings of the Executive Committee.
C)  In the absence of the President the Vice President shall chair the meeting. In the absence of both the meeting shall appoint a chairperson.
D)  In the absence of the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary, or failing that the Minute Secretary, shall fulfil the duties of the Secretary.
E)   The Executive Committee shall meet as and when required and not less than quarterly.
F)   Five members shall form a quorum.  Notice of absence must be given to the Secretary.
G)  Any member absent from two consecutive meetings without such notification shall normally be reported to the Council who may remove the absent member from the Executive Committee.
H)  Executive Committee members who feel themselves to be in serious disagreement with a majority Executive Committee decision, may have their dissent recorded.  At Council meetings they may express their point of view, but shall not be permitted to vote against such majority Executive Committee decisions.

9 - Auditors


The Council shall appoint two auditors.  They shall be accredited delegates to the Council and shall be elected at the AGM.  They shall not be members of the Executive Committee.

10 - Trustees


The Council shall appoint seven Trustees.  They shall include the President, Vice President, Secretary, Vice Secretary and Treasurer. The remaining two Trustees, who shall be accredited delegates to the Council, shall be elected by ballot at the AGM.

11 - Council Meetings

A)   The Council shall meet on the first Wednesday of every month, except for the month of August, when ATUC will recess for that one month.
B)   The President shall oversee all meetings of the Council.
C)  In the absence of the President the Vice President shall chair the meeting. In the absence of both the meeting shall appoint a chairperson.
D)  In the absence of the Secretary the Assistant Secretary, or failing that the Minute Secretary, shall fulfil the duties of the Secretary.
E)   12 delegates, including officials, shall form a quorum.
F)   The agreed minutes of Council meetings will be circulated by the Secretary after confirmation and passed to the STUC.
G)  Any delegates absent from three consecutive meetings without a valid reason may be reported to the organisation whom the delegate represents.
H)  Special meetings may be called either at the discretion of the executive committee or by the secretary on receipt of a requisition in writing from at least three affiliated bodies; notice of such a meeting to be given to the delegates.  Special meetings may also be called for suspension of Officers and the ensuing investigatory process.
I)    All meetings of the Council shall be open to the press and visitors, unless the majority of the delegates decide to meet “in camera”.  Representatives of the press shall sit apart from the delegates and shall NOT take part in the business. Visitors shall sit apart from Delegates, but can take part in the business if invited so to do, by Delegates. Visitors shall not have a vote.

12 - Annual General Meeting

A)   The annual general meeting will be held on the first Wednesday in March.
B)   The President shall oversee proceedings at the AGM.
C)  In the absence of the President the Vice President shall chair the meeting. In the absence of both the meeting shall appoint a chairperson.
D)  In the absence of the Secretary the Assistant Secretary, or failing that the Minute Secretary, shall fulfil the duties of the Secretary.
E)   Elections for the Officer posts will be conducted at the AGM.
F)   Where there is more than one nomination for any post, there will be a show of hands for each nominee and the nominee with the highest show of hands will be appointed.  In the event of a tie the casting vote will go to the chair.

13 - Financial management

A)   The bank account or accounts are to be held in the name of the Aberdeen Trades Union Council and to be operated by the appointed Bank Account signatories.
B)   The operation of these accounts will be the responsibility of the Treasurer and named bank account signatories.
C)  At least three signatories including the treasurer and other post holders from the officers or executive committee should be nominated and approved at the AGM and recorded in the minutes as such.
D)  All monies received shall be lodged in such bank account as approved by the council.
E)   The Treasurer will keep an analysed monthly record of all income and expenditure and will provide this record to delegates at the monthly Council meetings.
F)   The Treasurer will report to the Executive Committee on at least a quarterly basis.
G)  The Internal Auditors will carry out an internal review of the Annual Accounts and provide assurance to the Council prior to the Accounts being submitted to the appointed external Accountants.
H)  The Treasurer shall keep an account of all income and expenditure; prepare internal annual accounts; pay all accounts where duly authorised to do so by the Council; submit all relevant vouchers to auditors; and submit internal accounts and vouchers to the appointed accountants to allow preparation of the annual audited accounts and Corporation Tax Returns following the review of the internal auditors.
I)    The Treasurer will produce an externally audited statement of accounts to the AGM.
J)    The Treasurer will draft a budget for consideration at the first Executive meeting after the AGM.  That budget to be referred to Council for approval.

14 - Council income and expenditure

A)   All monies collected in the name of the Council must be paid into the account by the bank account signatories.
B)   Expenditure incurred shall be paid by cheque, standing order, direct debit or via online banking by the appointed bank account signatories.
C)  Each cheque will be signed by a minimum of two appointed bank account signatories (as determined in 13C); one of these should be the Treasurer (except in an emergency situation as agreed and minuted at an Executive Committee meeting).
D)  All normal expenditure, with the exception of utility bills incurred on behalf of the council, must be approved by a meeting of the full Council.  Decisions must be recorded in the relevant minute.
E)   In circumstances where expenditure becomes necessary where prior approval of the council is not possible, the executive committee will have the authority to authorise expenditure up to a limit to be determined at each AGM.  Any expenditure so authorised will be declared at the next full council meeting for homologation in the minute.

15 - Inventory

A)   The Executive Committee will keep a record/inventory of all items owned by the Council.  This record will include the location of the item and the Officer/Steward responsible for its use and safekeeping.
B)   The Key Holders for any Council premises will be the designated Office holders with exception of the Minute Secretary.  Keys must be returned immediately on vacation of post.

16 - Officer/representative expenses and general principles

A)   Officers and representatives are entitled to be reimbursed for expenditure incurred whilst carrying out their duties, attending meetings and/or conferences on behalf of the Council.
B)   No Officer or Representative should be disenfranchised from activity because of financial constraints.  Therefore travel and subsistence will be paid in advance where necessary.  Any advances will be recorded and signed by the recipient.
C)  All expenses to be claimed for must be approved by the Council and be signed off by the Treasurer and one other Officer on receipt of the relevant voucher of expenditure.
D)  The approval of the Council must be sought for attendance at any conference or meeting that will incur expense for the Council.  Approval of the named person or persons will be recorded in the appropriate minute of the Council.

17 - Scottish Trades Union Congress

The Council shall affiliate to the STUC to whom shall be forwarded copies of all minutes, once agreed.

18 - Dissolution

The ATUC may be dissolved by a resolution passed by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at a Special General Meeting convened for the purpose of which ninety (90) days notice shall have been given to the members.

Such resolution may give instructions for the disposal of any assets held by or in the name of the ATUC, providing that if any property remains after the satisfaction of all debts and liabilities such property shall not be paid to or distributed among the delegates, members, officers or trustees of the ATUC but shall be given or transferred to such other institution or institutions having the objectives similar to some or all of the objectives of the ATUC as the ATUC may determine and if and in so far as effect cannot be given to this provision then to some other charitable purpose.

19 - Amendments to the Constitution

The Constitution may be amended at any AGM provided notice of any proposed alteration is forwarded by the delegate(s) of the affiliated organisation no later than three weeks prior to the AGM.  Any proposed alteration shall be issued to the delegates of all branches affiliated to the Council and to Congress Office one week prior to the AGM. Any such amendments must be approved by a two thirds majority.

20 - Silence of rules

In the event of any situation arising not covered by the Constitution, Standing Orders or agreed Council protocols, the decision shall be agreed by the majority vote of the Council, and consideration given for the need to amend the aforementioned rules.

The Standing Orders below were also agreed:

Aberdeen Trades Union Council

Standing Orders

1 - Order of Business

A)   Council meetings (including the AGM) shall normally commence at 19:30 (unless otherwise stated by the Council) and stand adjourned not later than 21:30.

B)   Deputations appearing before the Council, any reports by delegates appointed to appear or attend other bodies by the Council.

C)  Minutes of previous meetings after being approved as a correct record should be signed by the Chairperson.

D)  Executive Minutes.

E)   Treasurers Report

F)   Trade Reports.

G)  Activity Reports.

H)  General Business.

2 - Suspension of Standing Orders

On any matter of urgency, the Chair may accept a motion to suspend Standing Orders for up to a further 30 minutes, provided two thirds of the delegates voting agree to this course of action.  The mover must state purely the nature and urgency of the business contained in the motion.

3 - Chair’s Ruling

A)   All questions of order shall be decided by the Chair, whose decision is final unless challenged.  In the event of such a challenge a vote shall be taken without discussion, and the decision of the Chair reversed if two-thirds of delegates vote against.
B)   All delegates taking part in debate should state, on rising or speaking, their name and organisation.  No delegate may speak twice on the same subject, except on a point of order, and in this event, the delegate speaking must take his place until the Chair decides.  Movers of motions shall be allowed five minutes to open and three minutes to close the debate; movers of amendments shall be granted a similar right; other speakers shall be limited to three minutes.  Where, however, a negative is expressed against a motion, the Chair shall declare a for-against vote and no amendment shall be valid.

4 - Motions

A)   All motions to be discussed by the Council must be submitted to the Secretary by the forwarding Branch, not less than 10 working days before the meeting and must not be in contradiction to the nationally declared policy of the submitting union.
B)   Any motion once decided shall not be rescinded or debated until three months have elapsed.
C)  The Executive Committee shall have the power to submit motions to the Council which may be subject to amendment by the Council.  They shall have the right to submit amendments to motions submitted by Branches.

5 - Amendments

A)   Any amendment to a motion must be voted upon before a second amendment is debated, but notice of such must be given before the first vote is taken.  If the first amendment is carried it becomes the substantive motion and may in turn become subject to amendment.
B)   Delegates may seek to amend such a motion before Council providing such amendment is not in contradiction to the national policy of the delegate’s Union.
C)  Any delegate may move without debate “that the question be now put” and if seconded the motion shall be put forthwith.  If the motion is carried movers of the motion or amendment shall have the right of reply prior to the vote being taken.

6 - Emergency Motions

A motion will be regarded as an Emergency Motion, providing the events referred to in such a motion could not have been submitted ten working days prior of the date of the Council meeting, as provided for in Rule 4 (Clause A) and providing the events referred to are of such a nature that immediate action is required.

7 - STUC Motions

STUC DRAFT Motions, for putting forward to STUC Congress, must be submitted to the Secretary, by the forwarding Branch, for consideration at the December meeting of the Council. All Motions to be agreed and finalised at the January meeting of the Council.

8 - Voting

A)   Voting shall be by a show of hands.  In the event of the result being equal the Chair in addition to his/her deliberate vote shall exercise the casting vote.
B)   No vote once declared by the Chair shall be open to challenge.

9 - Delegate Conduct

Any delegate or Office holder consistently disregarding the ruling of the Chair, or is guilty of persistent obstruction, after due warning, shall be named and suspended by a vote of the Council and thereafter reported to the organisation responsible for his/her appointment.

10 - Alterations of Standing Orders

No new standing orders or alteration to those in force shall be made unless it receives the votes of two-thirds of delegates present at the AGM after requisite notice being given.