Union changes agm structure

28 January 2000

Union changes agm structure

FOR the first time ever, all full NFU members in England and Wales will be allowed to visit and vote at the unions AGM next week. But with crucial debates planned for the meeting, NFU officials are concerned that members are still unaware that they are entitled to attend the meeting, let alone vote at it.

One of the resolutions to be debated seeks compulsory postal voting for elections of delegates to Council in London – instead of voting in person at special meetings in each county.

The resolution came from Devon NFU and Devon member Ian Pettyfer is expected to propose it. Mr Pettyfer has long campaigned for everyone to feel involved and strengthen Councils hand.

"Im not suggesting changing to a postal ballot will get a single extra member using the vote. But it will mean every member knows that Council has been elected by everybody in the union who wanted to vote."

Thirty years ago Mr Pettyfer was denied entry to the floor of the AGM and had to watch from the gallery unable to join in the debate. "Next week I will, as an ordinary grassroots member, be taking part in the AGM and helping to change the NFU for the better."

But he is concerned that none of the resolutions are mentioned on the published AGM agenda. "It doesnt exactly encourage people to vote, nor does having the AGM at 8.45am in London. You cant really expect many people to stay overnight at London prices."

Although the south-west NFU offered to subsidise coaches to take members to the AGM, there had been surprisingly little interest in booking places by mid-week.

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