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Equity’s online-only branch made permanent after successful trial

Representatives vote on a motion at Equity ARC 2016. Photo: Phil Adams

A pioneering online-only branch launched by Equity has been made permanent by the union following a six-month trial period.

The branch was opened in March, and was aimed in particular at members who are unable to get to a local branch, such as people with disabilities.

At the time, spokesman Martin Brown said he wanted the online branch to “give members a genuine say in their union’s decision making when they are unable to get to their local branch”.

Confirming the online branch’s permanent status, he described it as a “really exciting development in Equity’s democracy” and claimed it may be a “first for any trade union across the world”.

“What we have created is a fully functioning branch where members can meet each other, discuss issues of common interest and pass motions calling on the Equity council for action. The only difference is that it all happens online,” he said.

Brown added: “It is open to any member to register, but may be of particular interest to any member not able to get to a meeting of their local Equity branch.”

Next week, the union plans to open nominations for the first ever online branch committee.

Its role will be to “oversee the smooth running of the branch and to deal with issues which come up between meetings”.