UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Open up Labour to union levy payers – Ed Miliband

Speaking at Labour’s National Policy Forum today Ed Miliband called on local Labour Party organisations to reach out to the almost 3 million union political levy payers who are not Labour Party members: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/06/party-members-labour-policy

“Nearly three million ordinary men and women - we call them trade union levy payers - are linked to this party. Nurses, call centre workers, engineers, shop workers. We are unique in having that relationship with working people. But for years we have done nothing to reach out to these men and women. When did any of us see substantial numbers of them involved in our party?

All of that has to change. Let me tell you. Many of them did not vote for us at the last general election. Every local Labour Party should be holding regular meetings open to them and make them genuinely part of our movement.”

In turn, this will present a welcome challenge to Labour affiliated unions of how best to maximise the opportunities presented by an opening up of Labour Party.

Internal political fund structures will be required to reach out and mobilise Labour levy paying members who, historically,have rarely been engaged with union political activities other than during election periods.

This subject was touched on 12 months ago when the 2010 UNISON Conference debated the review of the effectiveness of the union’s Political Fund: http://unisonactive.blogspot.com/2010/07/building-influence-and-widening.html