Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair, said, “UNISON has a tradition of successful political campaigning both at national and at local level.
“The law says that unions must have a specific political fund to pay for such work and that a ballot has to be held every 10 years for it to continue.
“Many of our members don’t appreciate that UNISON is unique in having two parts to its political fund. You can choose whether you want your political fund payment (which is a small part of your normal subs rate and does not cost you anything extra) to go into the General Political Fund (GPF), the Affiliated Political Fund (APF) – which funds the Labour Party – or not to pay into the fund at all.
“All this ballot is asking is for members to confirm these arrangements, which have been in operation since the formation of UNISON.”
Branch Secretary, Inez Teece added, “UNISON’s National Executive Council is recommending a yes vote to keep a strong political voice for the union at European, national and local levels. Our political fund is what allows us to take campaigns into the political arena.”
The ballot papers and materials will be mailed out with U magazine in late October. For more information or if you have not received your ballot paper by 10 November please call 0800 0 857 857.
What is the political fund and how is it used?
UNISON campaigns hard to defend jobs and decent employment standards, to promote public services and equality, and to protect the health and safety of our members.
Much of the high profile political campaign work you see from UNISON is paid for by the general political fund (GPF) – defending the NHS and pensions, through to tackling racism and the BNP.
But it’s not just the big things the GPF funds. All sorts of national and local projects and campaigns benefit from receiving funding this way; anti-cuts campaigns or local campaigns against hospital closures, for example.
UNISON needs to be able to continue to influence political decisions. Politicians make decisions that affect members’ jobs and the public services that are vital to our community, and the GPF is what enables UNISON to stand up for members and working people
As our branch has members in it who pay into the GPF, the branch can apply for financial support for a political campaign or activity.
UNISON also needs to be able to campaign in the political arena, at Westminster, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, in Europe and at a local level too.
The Affiliated Political Fund (APF) is known as Labour Link, and it funds work to take UNISON’s policies to the heart of the Labour party, promoting the Living Wage, decent pay and defending the NHS etc. Members have a choice about paying into the APF but only those who choose to do so can have a say over how the fund is used.