Motion on Collins Review ASLEF Nottingham
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The Collins Review
This branch notes the contents of the Labour Party bulletin ‘Let’s build a better Labour Party, so we can build a better Britain’. It announces proposed changes to the relationship between the Labour Party and its affiliated trade unions which will be taken forward by the Collins Review. In the bulletin, the Labour leader Ed Milliband says, “I want to hear their [trade unionists who pay the political levy to Labour] voices louder and clearer than ever before. That means enabling the men and women in trade unions to make an active, individual choice on whether they become part of our party, not seeing them affiliated automatically.” He spins the proposed change to political levy paying from opting out to opting in as a move that will empower trade unionists in their dealings with the Labour Party. We should guage Milliband’s real commitment to empowering trade union members by recalling that when trade unionists in Falkirk West attempted to use that power it led to accusations of a crime being committed and the police being called.
This branch believes that the move from opting out to opting in will seriously weaken the Labour Party as it did when the Tories introduced it in 1927. We further note that the Labour Party has committed to maintain the coalition spending totals for 2015-16 if it is elected. These spending totals will mean more cuts in public services which will set the trade unions against a Labour government.
We believe that wishing to neutralise any fight by trade unions within the party (trade unions have 49% of the votes at LP conference) against Labour’s future austerity measures is the real reason why the Labour leadership is pushing to adopt this reform even though it might lead to bankrupting the party. Polls indicate that only 10% – 30% of current political levy payers would opt in to paying it. At that rate the Labour leadership could then reasonably argue that the share of union votes within LP structures should be likewise reduced.
This branch believes that it is trade union involvement that fundamentally differentiates the LP from the other main political parties and holds out the possibility of changing LP policy to benefit working people. We therefore call on our executive committee to oppose any changes that would reduce the influence that trade unions have within the LP, starting with the fight to maintain opt-out.