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Defend the Link!

Here we provide information and useful links for those wishing to campaign for the Labour Party to retain its historic link with the trades union movement.  Updates are added immediately below:

2015 Labour leadership election

The passing of the Collins reforms at Labour’s March 2014 Special Conference means the 2015 elections for Labour’s leader and deputy leader will be conducted under the new “OMOV” system.  The resignation of Ed Miliband following Labour’s defeat at the 2015 general election has brought renewed calls to break Labour’s historic union link from the Blairites and neo-liberal supporters within the Labour Party.  It seems that the Collins reforms, which fundamentally undermine that link, but which may only be phased in over 5 years, have not satisfied those on the far right of the Labour Party.

Thankfully a group of Labour MPs wrote to defend the Labour Party’s trade union link and to emphasise that the Labour Party should never forget its responsibility towards working class people, who the Party was created by the TUC to represent.  These 30 MPs note that trades unions give a voice to the working class and it is Labour’s obligation to respectfully engage with the unions and their elected representatives, not to join in media and Tory smears of “Red Len” or anyone.  We agree that Labour’s trades union link is the umbilical cord connecting the Party to over six million trade union members and, with their families, at least a third of the British population.  This link is at the heart of the Party and must be cherished.

Respond to the Collins Review before it closes on 24 December 2013

Every individual Labour Party or affiliated member, trade union branch, Labour Party branch or Constituency Labour Party (CLP) can submit a response to the Collins Review set-up by Ed Miliband to examine Labour’s trade union links.  Responses must arrive before the Collins Review closes on 24 December.  It’s easy to participate if you use the model response drafted by the Defend the Link campaign .  It is most important to stress that Labour must retain its existing trade union links, which give trades unions the right to participate collectively as affiliated organisations.

Your response to the Collins Review can be emailed to:

Or it can be uploaded via:

Or it can posted to: One Nation Party, Labour Central, Kings Manor, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6PA

Some people have suggested using more than one method just to be on the safe side!

Support the Defend the Link campaign

The Defend the Link campaign has greatly developed its website with more useful articles and resolutions than there’s space for here.  We recommend that you keep reviewing that site in future.  Most importantly, use their recommended model response to the Collins Review as a template for your own.  Lastly, please ensure that you have signed the campaign statement.  And please pass these links around…

Tell Ray Collins to leave Labour’s trade union link alone

Deadline: 13 September 2013

Urgent news for all Labour members who want to defend the Party’s trade union link.  On Tuesday 6 August the Labour Party issued a new document “Let’s build a better Labour Party, so we can build a better Britain”.  Inside is a call for members to input to the Collins review before Friday 13 September – a date by which many local parties will have no chance of meeting given that most hold no August meeting.  Make sure you contact Ray Collins by 13 September to tell him to leave the union link alone.  Find out how to do this here.  Defend the link!

New articles from Billy Hayes – General Secretary of the CWU and Ian Hodson – President of BFAWU provide plenty of points for you to ask Ray Collins to consider as he prepares his interim consultation.  So, let him know by either visiting or emailing or posting your response to: A Better Labour Party, Labour Central, Kings Manor, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 6PA. But make sure your response is in by Friday 13 September 2013.

Defend the Link campaign

The Defend the Link campaign is now on Facebook.  If you haven’t already, we urge you to sign the Defend the Link campaign statement and organise a local meeting in your area.  We can help provide support to meetings in Sussex.

From the horses mouth?

Have you seen the Falkirk Report?  How many people in Labour have seen the full report?  Listen again to The Report on Radio 4 which concludes that “There was no major vote rigging scandal in Falkirk”.  Ignore press reports based on out-of-date stereotypes of union barons, which is designed to alienate people from unions.  Instead watch a real trades union leader  GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny on BBC Hardtalk  And has Ed Miliband got his figures in a twist?  Miliband suggested that UNISON’s political fund arrangements could be used as a model but Jon Rogers of UNISON NEC has explained where Ed’s gone wrong with this.

Respond, respond, respond!

Make sure you get your response in, both personally and from your Labour Party or trades union Branch, CLP, DLP, or other organisation.  Apparently Ed Miliband emailed Labour Party members about his proposals to break the link.  If you received this email, please do reply to Ed.  Here are some responses you may find useful.

Don’t overlook the proposal to bring in primaries, which would remove the right of Labour Party members to select local candidates and risks handing seats over to the candidate with the deepest pockets and best media backing. Beware primaries!  On 7 August the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) issued this model motion opposing primaries It will be of most use to submit this to Ray Collins before 13 September 2013, if you are able to get it passed at your branch.

Make sure that you and your Labour, trade union or other organisation Branch and CLP are fully engaged in the Collins Review.

The terms of reference for the Collins Review on the Labour Party’s trades union link

“Lord Collins of Highbury will review and make recommendations on:

1. the use of primaries in the selection of the Labour candidate for London mayor and in other circumstances;

2. the conduct of parliamentary selections to ensure fairness and transparency;

3. the development of a new relationship between the Labour party and members of our affiliate organisations;

4. constituency development agreements between affiliate organisations and constituency Labour parties;

This review will be carried out in a timely manner reporting back to the leader of the Labour party.”

Pass resolutions defending the link

Already some resolutions have been shared.  A couple of the more useful ones come from London Young Labour and the CWU.  We have adapted these to provide models for others to use locally.  Passing one of these resolutions will mean that your Labour Party has policy on this issue.  Do this as soon as possible so that you can mandate your delegates in advance of 2013 Labour Party conference and Miliband’s proposed 2014 Special Conference.  Remember, these proposals have to be passed at two Labour Party conferences to become effective.

On 7 August the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) issued this model motion defending the Labour Party- trade union link.  If you are able to get it passed at your branch, it will be of most use to submit this to Ray Collins before 13 September 2013.

Support the Defend the Link campaign

Sign the Defend the Link campaign statement and organise a local meeting in your area.  We can help provide support to meetings in Sussex.

Know the effects of the Lobbying Bill

Be aware that the Coalition is seeking to manacle trades unions via the Lobbying Bill.  This is a serious attack on free speech which attacks trades unions while doing nothing to limit the big political lobbyists.  If passed in September, as expected, the Labour Party will have to spend money disassociating itself from trades union campaigning and is unlikely to be able to make-up lost affiliation fees via trades union donations.  This makes the Miliband proposals to break the link possibly lethal to Labour’s electoral hopes unless the result is state funding of political parties.  Support the trades union link not state funding of political parties, to see more ordinary people involved in politics, not a greater divide between politicians and ordinary people.  The Coalition has seized upon Miliband’s proposals as keeping the media interest alive provides them with the opportunity to push the Lobbying Bill through.

Why is Ed doing this?

Ultimately this is the question we shall all ask at some point:  Jon Rogers has some powerful thoughts

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