Proud but plenty more to do.

By Tumu Whakarae | National President Dr Julie Douglas

May 19 was a great day for our union. After some robust debate from the conference floor, and years in the making, the TEU adopted a new set of rules. Significantly, those rules provide for a co-governed Council and co-leadership. We should all be proud of this achievement and that the future of the union being fit for purpose in contemporary Aotearoa is on the right track.

Not only do we have a different governance structure from 2024, but the new rules have also promoted the standing of Network Groups which will allow voting rights and greater representation at conference. The new rules will provide more avenues for members to engage in the union and allow for members to find a home for their passions.

At times, the rules process has not been easy, and there has been a huge commitment to consultation in the drafting. At the Te Uepū meeting held the day before conference, members asked our lawyer, who has been involved in the drafting work, what she thought of the rules. The lawyer commented that while TEU operates in a most complex environment, she had never seen a set of rules or the process that we have undertaken that shows a more authentic approach. She was impressed with how we were truly giving life to our values.

Through all these changes the industrial work of the union has not changed. Our role as an industrial union is to fight for the rights of workers, represent workers’ interests, and work to improve the wages and conditions for all our members. This will always be our core work. But the new rules allow us to continue this work while at the same time working in an environment which acknowledges and supports all of our members in a way we did not do so before.

Now we are in the process of developing the way forward and implementing the new rules. And this work will carry on for much of the rest of the year. Elections for 2024-2025 national positions are not far away, so have a think about whether you want to be part of this new way of working.

As I said at conference: these new rules diminish no one and at the same time lift everyone.