UNISON and the Labour party
A vital purpose of a trade union is to campaign for the protection of its members and for improvement in their terms and conditions.
The protections benefiting trade union members today are the result of many successful campaigns run by trade unions such as UNISON in previous years.
One key method of campaigning is to represent the interests of trade unions to government and politicians, as obviously employment legislation is the biggest factor in determining the terms and conditions of the workplace.
From its earliest days, the Labour Party has received support from the trade union movement because it has delivered legislation and policies to improve the lives of working people.
Choosing a new leader for the Labour Party
Following the recent General Election and the resignation of Ed Miliband the process is now underway to elect a new Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. The four candidates standing for Labour Leader are Andy Burham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall.
UNISON is affiliated to the Labour Party and because of this all UNISON members are able to participate in choosing the next leader and deputy leaders of the Labour Party by registering as Affiliated Supporters – this is FREE, there is no charge.
UNISON members who have not yet signed up as Affiliated Supporters are still able to do so until 12 noon on 12 August. As an affiliated supporter they will be eligible to participate in the ballot which will be conducted by the Labour Party to select the Labour leader as well as London’s Mayoral candidate. FREE Sign up can be done online at http://support.labour.org.uk/. Remember to answer ‘yes’ to the question “are you a member of an organisation affiliated to the Labour Party?”.
In addition members of UNISON have the option of joining the Affiliated Political Fund which allows some of their subs to be used to financially support the Labour Party – but members must choose to opt in to this, it is not automatic.
Kensington and Chelsea’s preferred candidate, Jeremy Corbyn MP
UNISON is eligible to make a nomination, which is a formal endorsement of a preferred candidate, but it is important to remember that the election itself is based on the principle of ‘one member, one vote’. Labour party members, Labour MPs, trade union members and other affiliated supporters get one vote each and each individual’s vote carries the same weight.
The branch committee of Kensington and Chelsea UNISON met and chose to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as its preferred candidate. Branch members who register as Affiliated Supporters (as explained above) are free to vote for any candidate of their choice, but the branch committee recommends Jeremy Corbyn:
- He is a UNISON member and a former member of NUPE
- He campaigns against low pay, privatisation and outsourcing
- He offers a real alternative to the failures of austerity economics
As you may have seen in the news, in nominating Jeremy, the Kensington and Chelsea branch committee have mirrored the views of UNISON members nationally, who have also endorsed Corbyn.
[Luke Metclafe, Branch Labour Link Officer]