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Millions not millionaires: more members speak out to defend the union link

Defend the Link colourOver the past few weeks, we’ve been reporting on the numerous party branches and organisations who have spoken out in defence of the Labour-union link following worrying statements on its future from leader Ed Miliband.

The latest constituency Labour party (CLP) to add its voice to the fray is Hackney North and Stoke Newington, where a motion was passed opposing “any and all suggestions that would weaken or undermine the relationship between the Party and the trade unions based upon collective affiliation”.

This follows motions in defence of the trade union link passed by Leyton and Wanstead CLP and London Young Labour, and strong concern expressed at a meeting of Ogmore CLP.

The Hackney motion makes clear that the members support Miliband in any genuine attempt to engage grassroots trade union members on an individual level, but questions wholesale the notion that this could be achieved via a move from “opt-out” affiliation to “opt-in”.

It is clear to Left Futures that many party members have strong feelings on the future of the trade union link. We encourage members to put forward motions to their Labour party meetings, write to fellow branch members and send the results to us, so that we can continue to chart grassroots feeling on the subject.

The full text of the Hackney North and Stoke Newington motion, which was passed unopposed, is as follows:

This meeting notes that the Labour Party was founded as an alliance between trade unions and socialist organisations to provide a political voice for working people.

We believe that Labour’s continuing relationship with three million trade unionists who are affiliated members of our Party helps to root our Party in our communities and workplaces. It is a relationship which has seen our Party through its greatest crises and to our greatest triumphs.

We want our Party to continue to be a Party funded primarily by millions rather than by millionaires. We recognise that trade unions are collective organisations of working people, and understand that the relationship between the unions and the Party, locally and nationally should be on the basis of collective affiliation.

We note that Ray Collins is currently leading a review of the Party’s relationship with the trade unions at the request of the Party Leader.

We would support positive measures to strengthen and improve the relationship between the Party and the unions, for example by encouraging the greater democratic engagement of ordinary trade unionists in union and Party structures, and by developing the understanding of the nature and purpose of trade unionism among Party members who lack experience of trade unionism. We call upon all individual Party members to join, and become actively involved in, an appropriate trade union.

We oppose any and all suggestions that would weaken or undermine the relationship between the Party and the trade unions based upon collective affiliation. We call upon the NEC to ensure that any proposals for change reflect the views expressed in this motion.


  1. Andrew says:

    Similar motion was also passed by Islington North CLP. Please if you have not signed the Defend the Link statement please do so.

  2. Rob the cripple says:

    The past what 18 years has seen labour under Blair discuss kicking the Unions out, then we have Miliband who is the weakest leader I’ve seen, who without doubt has now decided the Progress and New Labour way will see him elected, state with I bet the backing of Progress and Blair to break the Union link again to what scare you all into paying up the levy.

    But only a few months ago the GMB leadership was asking with many branches is it not time to disaffiliate, so from disaffiliation we are now on bended knee to Labour to keep the link.


    I mean what the hell has Labour done for the Unions, or the people what the Min wage.

    New Labour did nothing except decide to ask Jack Straw to look at getting the Levy by force, and then Labour came back on bended knees to seek funding to fight the battles for welfare reforms and keeping JSA so low.

    I mean my Union the GMB went looking to seek money from members of the A4e and workfare groups.

    I cannot believe how desperate people have become to keep a link with a Labour party which has long ago sold out to the Thatcherite anti Union rhetoric or Monetarism.

    Little wonder why reps ask people to join a union they have a fit of laughter, look at it we are in the worse attack in living history on the Post Office the Royal Mail and the sell off of the NHS and the wages of working class people and not a strike not a murmur of anything, what for in the hope that Miliband will get back in and do what, he’s already stated he do the same as the Tories. Are the Unions that desperate to find jobs for people as MP’s has Falkirk not made any difference.

    Miliband is without doubt the weakest leader I’ve ever seen, but who ever makes it back in like Burnham or Murphy or Byrne or one of the other New Labour tribe the only thing Unions are handy for are jobs for the boys to keep them in line, and money to fund another New labour tribe to take power.

    If Labour gets back in in 2015 the fact is he will be looking at state funding, this without doubt will be on Labour agenda and sorry you can sign petitions if you like the Union link is coming to an end.

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