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Attempts to force Unison branches to affiliate to Labour
A West Midlands Unison activist
The article by Andy Bentley in issue 750 of the Socialist 'There is an alternative to cuts!' was spot on.
It was very encouraging to hear that a Unison branch had suspended its funding to Stoke Labour Party - quite right when they are aiding and abetting the Tories in attacking our members.
However I was shocked to see a letter to my Unison branch dated 24 January from the Unison regional organiser for the Affiliated Political Fund (APF)/Labour Link.
This gave just over two weeks' notice that unless objections were raised by those members (about 1/3 of membership) who pay in to the APF, the region would automatically affiliate our branch to the local constituency Labour Party. If they didn't hear back from the branch then they would affiliate us anyway.
It also states clearly that the branch committee, the democratic body of the branch which involves lay officers and stewards has absolutely no authority to make any decision. So we have a Labour council attacking us here, poised to vote through 800 job losses and the regional officials want to us to hand over more money to their party!
This is yet another example of the depths the Unison bureaucracy will stoop to, to try and maintain the abusive relationship with the Labour Party.
This year's national executive elections give us a chance to elect Unison activists who have a completely different view of how our union should be run.
The Socialist Party is a key part of the 'Reclaim the Union' slate and we urge all Unison members to support it.
We cannot always publish the names of Unison members because of the history of witch-hunting of socialists and activists in that union. The Socialist supports the fight for democratic and fighting unions
In The Socialist 6 February 2013:
Socialist Party NHS campaigning
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party reviews and comments
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis