About the CWU

The North East Region of the Communication Workers Union

Index to paragraphs

The Union's values

The Communication Workers Union exists to protect, advance and serve the interests of its members throughout the communications industry. In pursuit of its aims the union will seek to:

provide first class collective and individual representation for all CWU members;

achieve security of employment for all members;

offer individual membership services of the highest quality;

expand trade union membership throughout the communications industry;

promote, by industrial and political means, the success of the industries in which our members work;

campaign against all forms of discrimination;

further these objectives by promoting the influence of the union throughout the national and international community

The structure of the Union

The union's first duty and responsibility is to protect and promote the interests of its members in the workplace. Reflecting a model democratic structure, every CWU member belongs to one of the union's branches.

Each branch elects delegates to, and determines policies to be debated at, the Annual Conference which determines the policies of the union on both industrial and general issues. Between Conferences, the union's National Executive Council (NEC) is responsible for policy decisions. The NEC is elected every 2 years by individual postal ballot. Its division into five constituencies ensures that all industrial and occupational backgrounds have a voice. The constituencies are clerical, engineering, operator and ancillary, postal and postal technical services.

The NEC deals with all issues of a general nature, such as organisation, recruitment, finances and services. For occupational issues, it divides into two industrial executives, one for telecoms and financial services, and the other for postal issues.

The union has a number of advisory committees, mainly consisting of ordinary branch members. These are to ensure that the needs of women, ethnic minorities, retired members, young people, lesbians and gays and those with disabilities and special needs are brought to the attention of the executive.

The union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress, the Scottish Trades Union Congress, the Wales TUC, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Labour Party, the Communications International and other organisations as determined by annual conference.

The Union's national campaigns

The union's main campaigning priorities have been aimed at securing:

Royal Mail secure in public hands, intent on developing Crown Post Office Counter services and affordable, reliable and universally priced mail and parcel delivery;

Universal access to the social and individual benefits of the most advanced information superhighway for the UK, which will give all in society the ability to benefit from our latest technology;

A modern communications network which will guarantee a buoyant financial and commercial infrastructure for the UK.

Within these objectives, the union aims to ensure not only the provision of efficient, integrated and affordable communication services for the UK - but also safe, secure and well rewarded employment for all CWU members.

The North East Regional Structure

The CWU Branches in the North East are grouped geographically covering an area from Berwick on the borders to Lincoln to the south of the region and every member working within that Regional area will have a local branch area.

A member becomes a member of the Local Branch, members in each workplace elect a representative. A Branch Secretary, a group of Officers are elected by the members to lead Local Branches. E.G. Chairperson, Treasurer, Equality officer, Women's officer, Youth officer etc.

Most Local Branches have representatives who are responsible for Negotiating matters affecting members within their jurisdiction. This happens in all units where the Local Rep negotiates directly with the local manager.

If you want to know more about getting involved, taking on the role of representative, or just want more information then please contact your local branch secretary.

The North East Region covers the postcodes:

BD, DH, DL DN, HD, HG, HU, HX, LN, LS, NE, TD (parts), TS, S, SR, WF, and YO.

There are 19 Branches within the region covering approximately 26,000 members, consisting of 11 postal branches, and 8 telecommunication related branches.

The Branch Rules

Each branch will have an agreed constitution based on the national rules and copies of the national rules, and branch constituion are available to every members and representatives on request to their branch secretary

The CWU is the largest union representing workers in the communication sector throughout the UK. The North East Region / Division has identified a strategic aim to become the most effective Region by:

Empowering members to act collectively

Enforcing equality of opportunity for all

A series of objectives have been agreed to enable realisation of this, namely:

Establishing and maintaining the CWU as the leading and most influential Communication's union;

Recruiting new members and sustaining the membership base;

Effectively utilising lay activists, finances, assets and image;

Protecting the interests of members and securing benefits and improvements for them;

The Regional Officers have agreed that the key strategic priority of the Union is organising for the foreseeable future in order to concentrate on building the Union.

Local Branches have a crucial role to play in delivering on these objectives by efficient and effective local organisation.

Whilst recognising that the role of Local Branch Secretary is pivotal in the functioning of a Local Branch, it is essential that the Branch operate as a team in order to be able to respond to the increasingly high demands and expectations members have of their union.

Role and fuction of local branches.

The role of Local Branches is governed by the National Rules and all are required to function in accordance with their adopted Constitution, which must comply with the model Rules published by the National Executive.

Within their own area Local Branches have a key role to play in furthering the Objects of the Union as defined in Rule 2 of the national rule book.

This includes:

Protecting, promoting and representing the interests of members individually and collectively;

Regulating relations between members and facilitating good professional relations between members and employers;

Opposing actively all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination;

Promoting equal opportunities in all activities;

Protecting and promoting the interests of the Communication Workers Union;

Ensuring that members are aware of legal advice and assistance, financial and other services and assistance.


Building the Local Branch by seeking to ensure that there is a full and active complement of Officers and Committee members.

Promoting equal opportunities in all the Union's activities.

Encouraging members to become actively involved and engaged.

Supporting workplace representatives and organising members to act collectively.

Campaigning around local and workplace issues.

Contributing to and supporting regional and national recruitment and organising strategies.

Attending and promoting Union training courses for workplace representatives, local officers.

Ensuring any available facilities time is allocated in an appropriate, fair and transparent manner within the Branch.

Engaging fully and actively in the Local Branch.


Promoting the Union to members and the wider community.

Maintaining contact with members in workplaces and keeping members and workplace representatives informed, particularly on local issues, by means of newsletters, briefings, visits and other measures.

Holding regular meetings of members and representatives.

Maintaining contact with workplace representatives, particularly if/when they are undertaking negotiations or representing members.

Keeping the national / Region and Division officers informed about local issues and developments.

Liaising fully with the Regional officers.

Contacting local MPs.

Keeping the Regional and divisional representatives informed about any local agreements reached.

Maintaining contact with the local media.


Raising with employers and managers the views and concerns of members, as and when appropriate.

Representing members who have grievances or who are in trouble, in line with the Conduct Code Attendance Procedure etc.

Seeking to ensure that the Local Branch is represented at briefings and seminars organised at national and regional level and representing the views of members.

Ensuring and organising participation in Regional and Divisional meetings so that the views of local members are properly represented.

Negotiating with the employer to promote CWU national and regional policy, protect the interests of members and secure benefits for them;

Ensuring representation on relevant employer committees;

Responding to proposals/consultations issued by the employer in line with CWU national / Regional policy.

Promoting Good Industrial Relations

Promoting and developing good industrial relations within the local Branch area.

Conducting communications and negotiations in a non-confrontational, open and constructive manner.

Attempting to resolve problems at the lowest possible level.

Participating in arrangements for disputes and ballots, when necessary, in liaison with the National Officer.


Keeping records of correspondence, events, meetings, incidents, case's as appropriate.

Ensuring the Local Branch operates in accordance with the financial provisions laid down by the CWU.

Ensuring CWU equipment is kept safely and maintained in good working order, and keeping an inventory of that equipment.

Maintaining and updating the membership database.

Submitting an annual return of Local Branch Officers to the Region. Registering elected delegates for National Conference in line with procedures issued by HQ.

Submitting the signed balance sheet to Headquarters.

It is recommended that Local Branches regularly review how active and effective they are in implementing an organising approach.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive list of roles and responsibilities, please see the national rule book and also the branch model constitution, which can be access using the buttons below for a more complete definition. In addition there is also a copy of standing orders, the rules by which any branch meetings are conducted.

If you are interested in becoming involved, joining or just supporting the CWU and you wish to know more, your first point of contact should be your local Branch Secretary, a list of all our branches within the North East can be found on the home page.

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