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National Delegate Conference 17-20 June 2008

Review of political fund to involve members more

Gordon McKay
Gordon McKay

by Kate Ramsden

Conference backed the National Executive Council (NEC) proposals for a review of the union's political fund, and rejected a misleading motion that suggested every member's money went to the Labour Party.

In fact, only those members who pay into the 'affiliated fund' pay anything to Labour, while the 'general' campaigning political fund has no party affiliation. Both are essential to the union's campaigning agenda.

The motion was entitled "New Labour: What do we get for our money?" and even those speakers who have chosen to pay into the "affiliated fund" had criticisms of the labour government.

However, their call to retain the levy for those who choose to pay it, to ensure that the voices and opinions of trade unionists can make a valid and necessary contribution to the political debate was well supported by conference.

Ayrshire and Arran Health's Gordon McKay told conference that at the moment we did not get enough for our money. However, he rejected claims that the Labour Party does not deliver for UNISON members and told conference that his constituency MP was selected, elected and has voted time after time on a socialist, trade union agenda.

"Comrades, I'm proud to have Katy Clark as my Labour MP, and I'm not easily pleased," said Gordon. "When UNISON members pay in to the political fund, fill UNISON delegation seats and select socialist candidates, you get Katy Clark."

He called for more members to get directly involved in building Labour policies that defend public services.

"What we need is a Labour Government that builds council houses, a Labour Government that brings the railways back into public ownership, and a Labour Government that builds schools and hospitals through public sector financing rather than the waste and corruption of PFI.

"Comrades, to do that we don't need a review of the APF levy by those who don't pay the APF levy. What we need are more levy payers who campaign for UNISON policies within Labour and only select and reselect Labour Parliamentary candidates who support UNISON policies."