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GMB cuts Labour Party funding

The response from GMB, one of the Labour Party’s largest and most loyal funders to the changes proposed by Ed Miliband have long been anticipated, and will come as no surprise.

GMB statement following CEC meeting yesterday Tuesday 3rd September 2013

“The GMB Central Executive Council (CEC) has voted to reduce its current levels of affiliation to the Labour Party from 420,000 to 50,000 from 2014.

This will reduce the union’s basic affiliation fee to the Labour Party by £1.1m per year.

It is expected that there will be further reductions in spending on Labour Party campaigns and initiatives.

GMB CEC expressed considerable regret about the apparent lack of understanding that the proposal mooted by Ed Miliband will have on the collective nature of trade union engagement with the Labour Party.

A further source of considerable regret to the CEC is that the  party that had been formed to represent the interest of working people in this country intends to end collective engagement of trade unions in the party they helped to form.

The CEC also decided to scale down by one third the level of it’s national political fund.”

Ed Miliband has proven himself a very able leader of the opposition, he now needs to ensure that he is also a good leader of the Labour Party. Seemingly a knee jerk response to the Falkirk West controversy has led to ill considered adoption of hare-brained reform proposals that have been cooked up by the Blairites. It is not too late to find a compromise that will preserve the collective basis of trade union participation in the party.

12 Comments

  1. John p Reid says:

    Good, although hopefully ,the next leader is selected by one member one vote for all affiliates,none of this the parliamentary parties votes are worth more than the rest of us,

  2. PETER WILLSMAN says:

    This very unhelpful vote will simply give the Blairites and the enemies of the Unions within our Party another boost, following the boost they have already had from Ed with his misguided response to Falkirk.The way to defend the Union link is to use all possible weapons not throw them away at the first puff of grapeshot!!That is a basic lesson you learn as a Union rep.!!

  3. Alex says:

    This decision, ahead of the conference has just given the Blairites and this Govt reasons to cheer. Not sure who the members of the CEC are but clearly they are doing precisely what they have accused Ed of doing, jumping the gun. I can but hope that Unite ask its members via a ballot first before making such a stand that is likely to backfire not only on the party but the people of this country and GMB itself.

  4. Gary Heather says:

    Not the end of the world. Hopefully a message to the Labour Party that the days of the open union cheque book, without an adequate return for union members, are over. Of course the GMB can now use the affiliation money saved to support working class candidates in the party who will promote progressive union policies and stand up for the rights of workers and a more equal and just society.

  5. Rod says:

    Welll done GMB!

    No point in waiting around for the LP to deliver the death blow – best to get your retaliation in first.

  6. This one is easy. The levy being strictly optional (the pro-Cameron media lie through their Blairite teeth on that point, as they do when they still talk about “block votes”), all levy-payers and other affiliated members should be declared individual members of the Labour Party, and that would be that.

    Since the introduction of opting out, there have been eight Conservative Prime Ministers. Eight. None of them has changed the law to require opting in, even though that it would always have bankrupted the Labour Party overnight. Something about it just cannot be done. I do not know what that something is. But it obviously exists.

    Declaring levy-payers to be individual members would be little more than a semantic change, and would merely constitute a move from a less efficient to a more efficient means of the doing the same things. A thing which already happens, anyway.

    You only pay the levy is you choose to. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or cannot read a basic form. There is no conceivable reason to pay the levy unless you are already a Labour supporter. By paying it, you already even get a vote in Leadership Elections. You are a Labour Party member. Entirely by choice. You ought to be classified as one. Problem solved.

  7. Rob the cripple says:

    David Lindsay little wonder labour on a down ward slope.

    In my 48 years in the GMB I have never had to join the Union, when I started out the site I worked on had an agreement that anyone and everyone was in the Union associated with the task they did. I signed a form saying i was going to work at Pembroke Power station a closed shop.

    I then paid my dues each week until they asked us to pay our dues through a bank payments, I did not get a anything at all about carrying on being a member I did get a vote and a letter in 2007 asking me for the first time ever if I wished to carry on paying my political levy that was the first time ever. When I went to a meeting other stated it was the first time they had been asked, we all knew we should have been asked but none of us could remember having a specific letter asking about the levy.

    None of us were much bothered it was only a few quid a year, the letter only came after labour had asked Jack Straw to seek payment of the political levy by all Union in full, it was even suggested that the levy should be paid to Labour even by Unions which had disaffiliated, since in labour mind the levy was Labours.

    Now it’s of course possible I did not get the letter or forms every ten years because I use to work in the factory for short period before going on on site for long period away from home, so they may have sent them.

    But when I went to the meeting I was not alone in saying it was the first time for many others, I think the levy came to the forefront with Labour and it now stayed.

    I may be lying of course or I may have dementia, but how odd is it that I a GMB member have not been asked about cuts to the levy and again the Union has gone off again forgetting to ask the membership for it’s opinion.

  8. swatantra says:

    Its agood move. We all have constraints, and perhaps it will force both Unions and the Party to think about gertting and giving ‘value for money’, rather than taking it for granted that they have an open cheque book.
    Union members need more voice, more participation in their Union. Too often Union Bosses have sat on their backsides and not addressed getting more members of their trade into that Union. Perhaps these difficult times will force everyone to rethink. And lets have OMOV Now, so only members of the LP determine LP policy and not Affiliates.

  9. Rob the cripple says:

    The love affair with New labour has damaged Unions badly people are leaving or not joining because Unions are seen as being part of the Labour party and not willing to stand up to people like Blair.

    My union the GMB even tried to make money out of ATOS and the welfare reforms by backing A4e for god sake.

    Unions should not be in any way shape or form party of any of the political parties, now then whether that means not funding a party this depends I do not mind money being used for MP’s who back the Union, but an open cheque book for Blair and Miliband no simpler no.

  10. swatantra says:

    Its a novel idea Rob ‘Unions should not be in any way shape or form party of any of the political parties’, which I would completely support you on; that way they’d probably have a bit more influence.
    Of course we’ed get those howls of protest from Unionists telling us that ‘the unions started the Labour Party’. We know that! but that doesn’t mean that Unions can dictate LP Policy 100 years on. Only LP members can do that. So join up and use your arguments within the Party machinary.

  11. Andy Newman says:

    Rob:

    “how odd is it that I a GMB member have not been asked about cuts to the levy and again the Union has gone off again forgetting to ask the membership for it’s opinion.”

    The decision was made by the elected lay member Central Executive Committee.

  12. Peter Willsman says:

    Andy,could you please give us some insight into the debate and thinking at the CEC?YoursPW(Retired GMB Branch Sec.of 20 years in office)

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