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From: The Socialist issue 877, 4 November 2015: 10 an hour now!

Search site for keywords: Labour Party - Unions - Labour - Elections - Union - Election - TSSA - RMT - Jeremy Corbyn - Trade unions - Unison - Unite - Candidates - Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition - Aslef - Bob Crow - TUSC

Labour Party elections

Where did the unions' money go?

Clive Heemskerk , Socialist Party executive committee

Over 440,000 was donated by trade unions to candidates in this summer's internal Labour Party elections, according to the official figures published by the Electoral Commission.

The largest sum, 163,000 in cash and donations in kind (premises, staff etc), was received by Jeremy Corbyn's leadership campaign. 113,000 of this came from the 1.4 million-strong Unite union but significantly the second biggest Corbyn donor was the RMT transport workers' union, which gave 25,000.


The RMT is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), an electoral alliance co-founded by the Socialist Party and the late Bob Crow. Its status as a non-affiliated union did not prevent it from making an important independent contribution to Corbyn's campaign.

The other rail unions Aslef and TSSA, which are affiliated to Labour, also backed Corbyn and were able to afford 13,000 between them.

On the other hand, their annual 100,000-plus affiliation fees - which are paid into the central party coffers - helped pay for the staff at Labour HQ who ruled out from the leadership ballot over 50,000 individual affiliated trade unionists and registered supporters. Fortunately, on this occasion, the pro-big business right-wing Labour Party apparatus was not able to decide the election outcome.

TSSA also made a donation to Sadiq Khan's campaign to be the Labour candidate in next May's London Mayoral election, no doubt seeking his support in the disputes with Transport for London over ticket office closures and the night tube.


But the union's donation was dwarfed by money Khan received from property developers and other companies and wealthy individuals. And TSSA's status as an affiliated union is not likely to give it any say on Khan's manifesto - the last mayoral election manifesto in 2012 was presented to a London Labour Party meeting with no plenary debates and no votes.

Lastly, the figures show that Unison, the 1.3 million member public sector union, despite formally backing Jeremy Corbyn, made just one donation in the summer contests - to the anti-Corbyn Scottish Labour leadership candidate Kezia Dugdale.

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