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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 June 2003

Unison And The Political Fund

THE BATTLE over the political fund at this year's UNISON conference is crucial. UNISON pays well over 1 million a year to the Labour Party and the trade union movement has paid a colossal 250 million to Labour since 1979, when the Tories came to power. But what have we got in return?

Glenn Kelly, Bromley UNISON

Working people and trade union members have faced a diet of cuts and privatisation, while New Labour has kept Thatcher's vicious anti-trade union laws intact. It's not surprising that members are increasingly opposed to the union handing over millions to New Labour.

That's why in 2001, UNISON conference voted for the Socialist Party resolution calling for a review of the political fund, so the funds should only be used to support UNISON members' interests.

But the national executive have arrogantly ignored the membership's wishes and have put forward a report which only proposes renaming the Affiliated Political Fund the Labour Link.

The union has banned the debate on the call for a ballot of all the membership on whether they wish to fund New Labour. Also banned is the debate on the establishment of one fund to be able to support other candidates and the proposal to create a third fund which can support candidates other than New Labour.

The Socialist Party clearly believes that New Labour has turned its back on ordinary working people and broken the link, not the union. And as such we believe that UNISON should no longer fund New Labour. We do believe that there should be a single, democratic political fund which is able to support other candidates which generally defend the interests of UNISON members.

But more than this the Socialist Party calls on UNISON to call a conference of trade union activists to launch a new workers' party. That is why this year we call for a ballot of the whole membership on whether they wish the union to fund New Labour.

If the union bureaucracy continues to block the wishes of the membership in allowing genuine changes to the political fund, when it comes to the political fund ballot which the union will have to hold in 2005, under the Tory laws, we believe that many members will see that as a vote on funding New Labour or not. We would understand members who voted no in order to stop feeding the hand that bites us.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 14 June 2003:

New Labour Isn't Working

Fighting For A Living Wage

Euro debate - independent workers' struggle needed

Iraq: Occupiers, Privatisers And Exploiters

France - millions keep up strike movement

Drop All Charges Against Day X Detainees

Tony Woodley Speaks To The Socialist

Unison And The Political Fund

Left Make Gains On Unison Executive

PCS Elections - Big Opportunities For The Left

Manchester: Electricians Fight De-Skilling

Dick Turpin rides again

Blair's Lies Sow Divisions At The Top

Bush's plan for an Israeli/Palestinian conflict settlement comes unstuck

Austria Over One Million Strike Against Pension Cuts

Iran 1978-79: A Revolution Stolen From The Working Class


 

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