WPB TU group: No more subsidies for the Labour party!

Unite banners at TUC demo

The Workers Party of Britain is calling for trade unions to disaffiliate from the Labour party – a capitalist party that represents the interests of big business, not those of the working class.

Current legislation requires trade unions to set up a political fund if it wishes to use any part of its membership fees for political activity. This fund is normally built up from a political levy from their members and is used to campaign on political issues.

The Workers Party opposes all anti-trade union legislation and calls for the right of trade unions to have full control of their funds to campaign on any political issue that is of importance to their membership without restriction.

Until these anti-trade union laws are repealed the Workers Party recognises the importance of these political funds to enable unions to campaign in their members’ interests. More often than not, however, this campaigning fund is primarily used to funnel money into the coffers of the Labour party.

It is precisely for this reason that Unite the Union recently cut its funding to the Labour party by £1 million. Though the Workers Party welcomes this move, we deplore the fact that this cut represents only 10% of what Unite pays to Labour every year.

More from the TU group: Win trade unionists for socialism

It is our belief that trade unions in Britain should cut their ties to the Labour party completely, since that link is severely hampering workers’ ability to fight for their rights.

We therefore call upon on all trade union members to take motions to their respective conferences demanding that their union disaffiliate from the Labour party. Only then can we free up funds to be directed at parties and organisations that really represent the interests of working people.

In the meantime, the law allows any union member who wants to ‘contract out’ out of paying the political levy to do so. Members are not obliged to use an official exemption form, but it may be easier to do so.

According to the present law, trade union members are supposed to be informed that they have the right to opt out of the political levy, and it is unlawful to continue to deduct that levy after a request has been made to stop contributions. The union leaderships don’t want to facilitate this process, however, so it can be tricky to find the appropriate form.

As trade unionists we would never want a worker to leave the security of a union. We do believe, however, that the unions should cease supporting a party that patently does not support us. Workers who never did, or who no longer do support the Labour party shouldn’t be forced to make contributions to the party’s treasury.

This Trade Union group, a subcommittee of the Members Council of the Workers Party of Britain, urges trade union members inside and outside the WPB to stop paying the political levy to the Labour party now if they have not already done so.

How to opt out

GMB members should contact their branch secretary or email political.department@gmb.org.uk.

Unison members should download and fill out the linked political fund exemption form and return it to your branch secretary.

Unite members should download and fill out the linked political fund exemption form and return it to your branch secretary.

Usdaw members should call 0161 224 2804 or email contractus@usdaw.org.

For other unions, call the union head office and ask to be sent a political fund exemption form.

Model motion

That this [conference, branch, organisation] recognises that the Labour party no longer represents the interests of working people.

Further, that this [conference, branch, organisation] believes that solely funding the Labour party means that our members are financing an organisation that will actively work against our best interests.

This [conference, branch, organisation] also believes that disaffiliation from the Labour party will bring about the freedom to fund parties, individuals and organisations that fully support our policies and aims.

Therefore this [conference, branch, organisation] instructs the Executive Committee to make arrangements for [insert union] to disaffiliate from the Labour party with immediate effect.

__________

** Please note that for your motion to disaffiliate from the Labour party to be successful it will require an associated rule change/changes. This will have to be carefully and accurately worded for it to pass scrutiny at conference.