Britain’s biggest regional Young Labour group last night (Wednesday) vowed to defend the link between trade unions and the Labour party, following Ed Miliband’s announcement that he will seek to end automatic affiliation of membership.
The London Young Labour executive committee voted in favour of a motion that also resolved to call on Labour chiefs to publish their report into selection of the parliamentary candidate in Falkirk. It was this selection that sparked a right-wing press sensation over trade union involvement in the selection of Labour party candidates. David Cameron, the Daily Mail and members of Blairite faction Progress all joined the attack on affiliated trade unions encouraging their members to join Labour as full individual party members – despite the scheme allowing them to do so having been introduced by Tony Blair many years ago.
The motion states that “As the mass organisations of working-class people, affiliated trade unions are entitled to use the democratic structures of the Labour Party in order to promote their policies and members who wish to seek selection as elected representatives of the Labour Party.”
London Young Labour has further pledged “to work with affiliated trade unions to win support at Labour Party conferences for democratic rule changes and for pro-working-class policies on issues such as cuts, the living wage, jobs, and trade union rights.”
The group now plans to hold a members’ meeting on the subject of the trade union link before the end of August, and it is understood that a similar motion will now be put before the Young Labour National Committee by London rep Ben Butterworth.
The full text of the motion is below. London Young Labour are encouraging party members to take similar motions to their CLP and Young Labour group meetings across the country.
London Young Labour notes:
- The Labour Party is still based on the affiliation of nearly three million working-class people through their trade unions.
- The subordination over the past 20 years of the influence of rank and file members and the trade unions in the Labour Party to the influence of big business and a right wing press.
- The current attacks on Unite in relation to the Falkirk West CLP selection process, and the broader attack on the Labour-union link by the right-wing media, Tories and those in the Labour Party opposed to the trade union link.
London Young Labour believes:
- Any weakening of the trade union link and the ability of trade unions and their members to participate in the Labour party should be opposed.
- As the mass organisations of working-class people, affiliated trade unions are entitled to use the democratic structures of the Labour Party in order to promote their policies and members who wish to seek selection as elected representatives of the Labour Party.
London Young Labour resolves:
- To defend the right of affiliated trade unions and their members to take part in the selection of candidates at every level of the party.
- To politically educate ourselves about the ideas of working-class representation and the Labour Party and the unions’ role in this, and to call a London Young Labour meeting on this topic before the end of August.
- To encourage more young trade unionists to become involved in the work of London Young Labour.
- To work with affiliated trade unions to win support at Labour Party conferences for democratic rule changes and for pro-working-class policies on issues such as cuts, the living wage, jobs, and trade union rights.
- To write to NEC Youth Representative Bex Bailey urging her to raise the issues outlined in this motion on the NEC.
- To write to Ed Miliband, to the Labour Party General Secretary and to the Labour Party NEC to demand the publication of the inquiry into Falkirk West CLP and to re-iterate the right of the CLP to select its own Westminster parliamentary candidate in accordance with the party rule book.
- To circulate the text of this motion to the Secretaries of Young Labour groups and CLP youth officers in London.