IWGB Disciplinary Procedure Guidance

The IWGB intends to uphold the highest procedural standards in all aspects of its organisation. In order to process disciplinaries, the IWGB Executive Committee (EC) will form, when necessary, temporary sub-committees of 3 people in accordance with the Union’s rules (Article 11 of the IWGB Constitution - see bottom of this page). The purpose of a sub-committee is to facilitate swift, natural, transparent and accountable justice to take place within the IWGB Union. The process should be inclusive, facilitate equal participation and should be fair throughout. Each sub-committee must conduct a confidential, independent, and neutral process, in order to reach a fair outcome and should take appropriate, proportional and necessary action at the end. As with any fair process, the right to appeal is essential. In order to process appeals, another sub-committee will be convened, when necessary, to conduct the appeal. Throughout this process the SC can rely on assistance from a member of IWGB staff to conduct the admin.

The steps to follow should be as follows:

1: Forming the Sub-Committee (SC):

Upon the recommendation of the qualified investigator in the complaints procedure, the IWGB EC will be informed that a complaint has been received and shall automatically convene a SC of 3 people unconnected with the complaint. The SC will agree between themselves the schedule for handling the complaint, and elect a Chairperson, so that the SC has a point of contact to represent the SC. They will try to act promptly in order to safeguard all person(s) connected to the complaint.

Example: A member has raised a complaint about their Branch Chair’s conduct at a meeting through the union’s complaints procedure. The qualified investigator has found the complaint well-founded and recommended disciplinary procedures against the Branch Chair. The SC that is formed must not include the Branch Chair, or anyone who can be deemed as prejudicing the process. The SC should decide to investigate without delay and write to the Branch Chair to let them know that a SC has been formed to investigate their behaviour, and invite them to submit any evidence, or supporting witness statements, and provide a reasonable deadline (1 week) for additional evidence. It is important that all parties respect the confidentiality of the process, and it is the SC Chair’s duty to inform everyone that this is expected.

2: Investigate: The SC Chair (on behalf of the SC) must make reasonable efforts to contact everyone connected to the complaint in order to thoroughly investigate. The SC then must gather written evidence and testimony from all affected parties so that allegations may be reasonably defended. The SC should invite people to a meeting, so they may make oral representations if they prefer. The SC should give reasonable time to allow for scheduling, and preparations, and provide a cut-off date for responses, so that members of the SC know whether they must attend the scheduled meeting or not.

Example: The Chair of the SC writes to the Branch Chair informing them that a complaint has been brought against them, and that the SC has been convened to deal with it. They should invite the Chair to respond by a deadline (suggest 2 weeks), decide to investigate without delay. The Branch Chair provides written explanation of what occurred and two supporting statements from members. The complainant also provides video evidence from the meeting.

3: Reaching a conclusion:

The SC must convene in order to reach an outcome and conclude their investigation. The SC may decide no action is needed or they may issue any of the sanctions listed in Article 11(d). The SC may conclude by majority vote and must decide what reasonable action should be taken as a result. The Chair of the SC must then inform the accused of the outcome of the procedure, and inform them of the appeals process, which should it be triggered will return the matter to the IWGB EC to form another SC of 3 other people. The Chair must allow 1 week’s time for submission of appeals. In such cases where a member’s membership is suspended or cancelled as a sanction, the Chair must inform the IWGB Membership Officer so they may take appropriate action and inform the IWGB Legal Dept in case there is any related ongoing casework.

Example: The Chair collates all the evidence and shares it with the other 2 members of the SC, so that they can weigh up the evidence and make a conclusion. The SC has a duty of care to both the accused and to the IWGB as an organisation, and is bound to uphold its rules. The outcome of the complaint must be communicated to the accused, in good time, so that the process may be concluded swiftly.

4: Appeals:

When an appeal is triggered, the issue returns to the IWGB EC, and another group of 3 is formed to handle the Appeal.

Example: The first SC concludes that the Branch Chair’s conduct was not in accordance with the Union’s rules, suspends the Branch Chair from Union Membership for a period of 4 weeks. The Branch Chair appeals on the basis that the sanction is too harsh, a new SC is formed and agrees a written warning is sufficient sanction, and reinstates the Chair’s membership.

ARTICLE 11: DISCIPLINE OF MEMBERS

a) The Executive Committee, through a sub-committee of 3 of its members appointed specifically for the purpose, shall have power to investigate the conduct of any member in order to determine if that member has been guilty of any breach of these rules or of conduct injurious to the interests of the Union or its members or of conduct unbecoming a member.

b) Such members shall be afforded details in writing of any charge contained in such complaint or report and the source not less than one week before the meeting of the sub-committee at which such charge shall be heard and determined. Such person shall be entitled to hear all the charges made and to respond, either in writing or personally before the sub-committee.

c) If a serious allegation against a union official, rep, or member arises, and it would be in the interests of the union for the person to be suspended from official duties and/or membership pending an investigation, and if a majority of the General Secretary, President, and Vice-President agree that the situation merits suspension, then they shall have the power to suspend on behalf of the IWGB. It should be made clear that the suspension is not punishment, and the temporary suspension should only last until the Article 11 investigation and decision has been made.

d) A member who is deemed guilty of the charges may be subject to one or more of the following penalties as the sub-committee may decide: d.1. be cautioned as to future conduct; d.2. be debarred from attending Union meetings for a period as decided; d.3. be debarred from holding office or participating in any way in branch or Union administration for a period as decided; d.4. be suspended from membership for a period as decided; d.5. be expelled from membership.

e) A person suspended from membership shall be deemed a non-member for the duration of the suspension.