Motions and Amendments submitted to NEC
Motions and amendments submitted by individual NEC members
National Executive Council
For debate by members of NEC
Motions and amendments that have been submitted by members of the National
Executive Council. Motions have been listed in the order they were submitted
For publication and circulation to Student’s Unions
Motions Submitted to NEC
Motion 1: Support Picturehouse Strikers
Sahaya James, Deborah Hermanns, Omar Raii, Rachel O’Brien, Shelly Asquith, Daniel
- That workers at Picturehouse cinemas have been striking since September for the Living Wage, sick pay, maternity/paternity pay, and union recognition.
- That the owner of Picturehouse, Cineworld, made £30 million profit in the first half of 2016.
- That many students are employees of Picturehouse.
- That Picturehouse often sells memberships and conducts marketing through Students’ Unions.
- That we support the demands of the Picturehouse workers and we want them to win.
- That they set a good example for all low-paid workers and their victory will encourage others.
- That striking for better pay is an excellent way to fight inequality
- To publicise the Picturehouse dispute and encourage members to support their strike fund.
- To encourage students who work for Picturehouse to join BECTU and find out about the dispute.
- To encourage Students’ Unions to deny Picturehouse access to Freshers’ Fairs and other marketing opportunities until they concede to the demands of the strikers.
Motion 2: NUS to Condemn Muslim Ban
Zamzam Ibrahim, Noha Abu El Magd, Mahamid Ahmed, Ali Milani, Aadam Muuse,
- Donald Trump’s first days in office have been marked by repeated acts of naked racism and xenophobia.
- Black people are disproportionately impacted by Trumps administration through mass incarceration, state surveillance, state executions through police brutality and now black Muslims through the muslim ban.
- The administration's decisions continue the state violence of migrants and Muslims, especially black muslims who face the double of oppression of anti-black racism and islamophobia
- The so-called Muslim Ban, which prevents migration from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, is the latest state violence issued by the US.
- US citizens with dual nationality as well as Green Card holders have been stopped at borders.
- Detained persons have been questioned about their religious and political beliefs and affiliations, including on their support for President Trump.
- The British government has remained silent and repeatedly refused to comment on its US counterpart’s actions.
- The British government has remained silent on the US state violence enacted by racist ideology and policies.
- The British government’s own track record on the targeting of migrants and Muslim communities has led many to believe that its silence is motivated by tacit support for President Trump’s actions.
NEC Further Believes:
- That the structural discrimination of minorities and the most vulnerable by governments is unacceptable.
- That migrants are welcome in our society.
- Anti-black racism and added islamophobia doubly impact black muslims.
- That Muslims should never be targeted for their faith or their beliefs.
- That the right of free movement is a key human right.
- That the British government’s own policies regarding Migrants, black people and Muslims are practically and institutionally racist.
- That students and students unions have a key role to play in offering support and solidarity to those affected by the ban.
- That students and students unions have a key role to play in the development of effective and broad political movements to turn the tide of xenophobia and Islamophobia which have been normalised for too long within our society and are reaching worrying heights.
- To support demonstrations and actions taken by students and community groups against the ban as well as against our own government’s complicity.
- To continue to campaign against the UK government’s discrimination of migrants, Muslim communities and black lives.
- To encourage students to offer refuge to stranded migrants, students, and dual-nationality US citizens.
- To collaborate with migrant solidarity campaign in the UK against detention centres and deportations such as the ‘Shut Down Yarls Wood Campaign’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’.
Motion 3: Motion of Censure for VP UD
Proposed by: Hassun El Zafar
Daniel Nasr, Zamzam Ibrahim, Mahamid Ahmed, Deborah Herman, Noha Abu El Magd
- Al Jazeera did an investigation into the actions of the Israeli Embassy.
- During the course of this investigation which found influence by the Israeli Embassy leading to dismissals and resignations, the investigation led to Labour Students and NUS.
- The investigation implicated Richard Brooks who stated he was organising against the NUS President.
- Richard was filmed stating that he went on an all-expense paid trip to Israel
- Student in HE and FE unions have released statements and open letters in response to the findings of the investigations demanding that VP Richard Brooks be held to account by the appropriate democratic body. Others have called for his immediate resignation.
NEC Further Believes:
- That NEC was not informed of any such trip
- That NEC is the accountable body for the Vice President Union President
- That NUS FTOs are obliged to declare significant benefits of this kind
- Richard has rejected all wrong-doing and claimed that the undercover reporter was introduced to him as a student organiser.
- NEC rejects the notion that it is acceptable for a VP to hold a meeting to discuss the undermining of a democratically elected officer with a student introduced by an embassy, and therefore by a foreign government.
- To censure the Vice President Union Development for violating democratic procedures of accountability
Motion 4: Condemn the violation of BDS policy
Deborah Hermanns, Mahamid Ahmed, Noha Abu El Magd, Shelly Asquith, Daniel
- Several members of NEC have taken part in an all expenses-paid visit to Israel and Palestine in January 2017.
- Past reports of these trips identify them as serving little more than propaganda value, presenting a heavily slanted picture of the situation in Palestine & Israel and whitewashing the reality of systematic oppression and dispossession facing the Palestinian people12.
- Evidence strongly indicates that this trip included trips to settlements, classified as illegal under internal law; land from which Palestinians have been ethnically cleansed and which are re-populated exclusively by Israeli settlers34.
- NUS has democratic policy on supporting the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement. BDS is a movement rooted in human rights that promotes freedom, equality and justice for the Palestinian people occupied, colonised and brutalised by the state of Israel, and which outlines a strategy of leveraging pressure on the state of Israel and on our own governments and institutions.
- Our BDS policy was voted through and later re-affirmed, on the back of growing support for BDS among our membership. This support itself was born of the recognition that all previous tactics of engaging with Israel only enabled, facilitated or validated its flagrant human rights abuses – including its apartheid policies, ethnic cleansing, its inhumane siege on Gaza, its colonial practices throughout the West Bank and more.
- Undertaking trips such as these that serves to undermine BDS policy and run counter to the principles of solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people that inform it.
- A petition initiated by FE college students criticising the decision of the FTOs concerned has been signed by hundreds of students, and has urged the NEC to hold them to account5.
- An open letter signed by 32 Palestinian student and/or student-led organisations urged the FTOs to reconsider their participation in the trip, and recognised these trips in the following terms6:
‘The sole purpose of these funded trips organised by pro-Israel groups is to whitewash Israeli crimes and decades-long oppression of our people. Far from being ‘educational’, these trips focus on giving a one-sided, pro-apartheid vision of our reality here in Palestine. In the past, participants on such trips have met with Israeli officials, military officers, and even visited illegal settlements – actively normalising their existence despite the breach of Palestinian land rights and international law, which they represent.’
NEC Further Believes:
- The decision to participate in the trip represents a violation of NUS’ democratic policy on BDS and warrants censure.
- Coming at a time when Al Jazeera’s ‘The Lobby’ documentary series has raised serious allegations of interference by the Israeli embassy and related organisations into NUS’ democratic structures, the decision to participate in such a trip shows a disregard for the for the stability of NUS7891011.
- Coming at a time when the UN Security Council has recently reaffirmed the illegality of settlements under international law, the decision to visit settlements as part of trip is an embarrassingly regressive one, and an affront to the values of human rights and respect for international law that the student movement embodies.
- The situation in Israel and Palestine is not an equally balanced equation – Israel is a militarised state that enjoys broad support and funding from superpower nations, whereas the Palestinians are an occupied and subjugated population.
- There is a vast expanse of writing and documentation available for education on the Palestine-Israel issue. It does not require all expense-paid trips to formulate a political opinion.
- International solidarity with a people should be rooted in a principled position of respect for human rights and dignity, and against oppression and should not be swayed by full-expense paid trips.
- To condemn the participation of NEC members in trips, which contribute, to the normalisation of the situation of Palestinians
- To condemn the normalisation of Israeli settlements which are illegal under international law
- To condemn the violation of BDS policy by elected officers and members of the NEC
- To re-affirm our solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine
Motion 5: Unaccompanied Children in France
Proposed by: Mostafa Rajaai
Seconded by: Malia Bouattia, James Elliott
- The ‘Dubs Amendment’ created a scheme for unaccompanied refugee children in Europe to be offered safe refuge in the UK by inserting a special section into the Immigration Act 2016 [Section 67].
- The amendment passed through Parliament in May 2016 with many Parliamentarians speaking passionately about our collective responsibility to pull our weight to ease the refugee crisis and offer protection to children forced to flee their homes without parents or other family.
- At the time the Dubs Amendment was passed, it was estimated that there were 90,000 unaccompanied children in Europe.
- The House of Lords wanted to offer sanctuary to 3,000 children under the scheme and pushed through the
‘Dubs Amendment’ named after the proposer, Lord Alf Dubs.
- To date, only 200 children have been brought to the UK from France (mainly directly from the Calais camp) under the Dubs Amendment Scheme.
- However at least 100 unaccompanied children are living in dangerous conditions in the Dunkirk camp. Yet the Government has not yet considered any children from the Dunkirk camp for transfer to the UK under the Dubs Scheme.
- Children in the Dunkirk camp are at serious risk of trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse, violence and exposure to drugs such as heroin and morphine.
- Children under the age of 16 living in the Dunkirk camp are not receiving proper full time education in schools and children between the ages of 16 and 18 (who do not want to claim asylum in France) are denied access to any education.
- The camp’s population has increased beyond capacity: facilities are overused posing severe risks to health and sanitation. Many of these children live in overcrowded shelters – there can be as many as twelve sharing a space designed for just four people. At least 40 unaccompanied children do not have a shelter and are bedding down on floors in communal areas.
- There are also a significant number of unaccompanied children in Paris who are similarly excluded from consideration for transfer under Section 67, Immigration Act 2016. Many of whom are sleeping rough in areas such as St Denis and the north of the city, after the so-called ‘Stalingrad’ camp was broken up by police. We understand that many of the children in Paris were previously resident at the Calais camp.
NEC Further Believes:
- The numbers of unaccompanied children living in the Dunkirk camp have increased over the last nine months and we are deeply concerned that neither the French nor UK authorities have taken responsibility for protecting them. The UK government must keep to its commitments, made in Parliament to give sanctuary to a number of unaccompanied children.
- The government must, as a matter of urgency, start considering unaccompanied children from the Dunkirk camp for transfer to the UK under Section 67, Immigration Act 2016.
- The denial of these children access a proper education - by both the French and British authorities is something that NUS should must be at the forefront of challenging.
- To encourage individual Students' Union to contact their MPs and any member of the House of Lords who has a relationship with their institution to pressure the government publicly and in private to honor its obligations.
- To encourage Student Unions and work with other education trade unions to call on their educational establishments to lobby the government and to support our calls for “right to live and the right to lean” for unaccompanied children in the UK.
- To work with activists and lawyers who are present at the camp to see what logistical support is needed and help individual unions to arrange for these needs to be addressed.
- The president to publish an open letter to the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, reminding them of their obligations under the amendment and raise the issue of access to education, healthcare and decent housing conditions as a matter of urgency.
- To circulate the crowdfunding campaign organised by Dunkirk Legal Support team “ Help Bring Dunkirk’s Forgotten Children to safey” to NUS members and over social media
Amendment 5a: Stop the Ban on Disabled Refugees
James Elliott, Anastazja Oppenheim
11. That the Government’s Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme has recently stopped accepting children with complex needs, including those with disabilities and learning difficulties due to a lack of suitable accommodation and
“suitable reception capacity.”12
NEC Further Believes:
- The specific exclusion of disabled children from entering the UK as asylum seekers speaks to the wider disableist rhetoric, policies and beliefs purported by the Conservative Government – namely, that disabled people are a “drain on the system” which can be seen through the massive cuts to disability benefits.
- There is a significant lack of accessible housing and our public services are under immense pressure – however, this is not due to (disabled) refugees, but due to policies of austerity.
6. When campaigning for the right of refugee children to come to the UK, to specifically mention the plight and additional needs of disabled refugees – e.g. accessible housing, disability benefits, suitable accommodations in education.
Motions Submitted to National Conference
Motion 1: Combatting Racism and Facism
Barbara Ntumy, Robbiie Young, Yinbo Yu, Hassun El Zafar
- Racism and fascism continue to be prevalent in our society.
- In the past year, particularly since Brexit, we have seen a rise in hate crimes.
- The election of Donald Trump has legitimised racist rhetoric which we must stand against, especially his ban on Muslims from entering the United States.
- As a movement, we must stand against all forms of racism.
- The far-right are on the rise across Europe and it is our responsibility to stand firm against it.
- In December 2016, the government proscribed the far-right neo-Nazi group, National Action.
- This was a welcome move in the fight against fascism, but the group are still appearing on campuses. In the past year they have been at Nottingham and Leicester, using stickers with the phrase: "Hitler was right".
- Incidents of islamophobia, antisemitism and xenophobia have increased in the last year.
Conference Further Believes:
- It is the right of a minority group to define their own oppression as per the Macpherson principle.
- It is crucial that NUS has a strong and well-functioning ARAF campaign.
- In a time of rising islamophobia, racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, it is more urgent than ever to develop this area of work.
- Currently the ARAF campaign has limited resources to be able to fully combat racism and fascism.
- Combatting racism and fascism must be at the heart of NUS' work.
- To reaffirm its commitment to fighting all forms of racism and fascism, wherever it may manifest, in our movement and in wider society.
- To unequivocally support the principle that those who face anti semitism, racism and islamophobia should be the ones who lead the fight against it.
- To provide more resources to the ARAF campaign in order for it to effectively and fully combat racism and fascism.
Anastazja Oppenheim, Omar Raii
Delete and Replace from Conference believes 7: Delete “This was a welcome move in the fight against fascism, but” and replace with “Despite this”
Add to Conference Believes:
- We should oppose state bans of organisations, including fascist organisations, as these strengthen the state's repressive powers, which are mostly used against the left, anti-racists and oppressed groups. As far right groups aim to take control of the state and use it against the left and oppressed groups, it is vital that the left does not strengthen the repressive power of the state and organises to oppose fascism without relying on it.
- We must recognise that any level of fascist organisation represents a physical threat to us. We must seek to stop fascists marching and holding rallies, including through physical confrontation where necessary.