Model NUS Conference Motion: Affiliation Fees

NUS has policy to try to reduce students’ union affiliation fees every year. At the same time, many democratic events (including those which elect members to the National Executive Council) have fees attached to them. Even more have other hidden costs associated with them, like transport, food and accommodation.

I asked recently why this policy was in place. I was told that, when asked, students’ unions consistently ask for lower affiliation fees.

This makes sense: why would anyone ask to pay more?

But in all my time in the student movement NUS has never asked its constituent members whether they’d prefer a reduction in affiliation fees to a reduction in participation fees.

For me, it’s a clear choice. While no one wants to pay affiliation fees it is surely fairer that unions pay a fee for membership (which is proportionate to how big/rich the union is) and then once they are members access to democracy should be completely fair. It is simply outrageous that unions with more money can afford more influence in their union.

I have written a model motion which unions can submit to National Conference before the deadline this Wednesday. It’s only 150 so won’t eat too much into your 1400 word count.

Please get in touch if you have questions: james.mcash@nus.org.uk

Affiliation Fees Motion – NUS National Conference AGM

Conference Believes:
1. That students’ unions are facing financial pressures and that budgets are tight.
2. That costs associated with NUS membership and participation can make up a substantial part of SU budgets.
3. That NUS charges participation fees for a number of democratic events, including ones which elect members to the National Executive Council.
4. That NUS is pursuing a strategy of reducing affiliation fees.
5.That affiliation fees are lower for unions with less money.

Conference Further Believes:
1. That participation fees are to affiliation fees what hidden course costs are to tuition fees.
2. That no union should be prevented from participation in NUS Democracy for financial reasons.
3. That while affiliation fees are not ideal, they are more progressive than participation fees.

Conference Resolves:
1. That NUS will not cut affiliation fees in real terms until all participation fees for democratic events are abolished.

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