Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Len McCluskey's letter to the Unite Members

Dear Unite member,

Labour, Unite and can we be stronger together?
When Ed Miliband recently announced that he was seeking to change the relationship between the Labour Party and trades unions most people wondered what on earth he was up to? 

Why change the relationship between working people and the party that they founded some hundred years ago? Why alter the system that ensures that trade union affiliation fees remain the cleanest money in UK politics? 

But Ed is onto something. Participation in politics in this country is at an all-time low, hardly surprising given that politicians are seen as a distant, self-serving elite.

Let's be frank, the relationship between the unions and Labour has not always worked for working people. Too often in the past the party has favoured establishment interests over improving the lives of ordinary people.

The status quo therefore could not continue. I had every intention of instigating a debate within our union on how it could be improved to your advantage.

This week that process begins. On Wednesday, your union's Executive Committee and regional political committees gather to discuss what Ed's proposals mean for our movement.

You can hear me address this event by logging onto to the live stream broadcast.

Ed's actions are bold and potentially historic. The details have yet to become clear, but they offer the prospect of tens of thousands of Unite members playing a more active role within the Labour Party. 

That really is the way to refound Labour; to have people like you, connected to our communities, driving Labour to be the party that will deliver the changes these communities sorely need.

Your views in this will be vital so we will look for ways to discuss these proposals in the workplaces and communities of our nations, beginning with this week's live stream broadcast.

Testing times
Ed's changes do not signal a break in the union/Labour link, although recent developments have sorely tested this bond. The attacks levelled at Unite and the language used in the media have been nothing short of disgraceful. You can be assured that Unite has done nothing wrong and has always operated within the Labour Party rules. We will continue to defend our position against the smear campaign.  

These happenings will not deflect us from pursuing our aims of promoting the core values of collectivism, community spirit, fairness, equality and justice.

So whatever you feel about politics right now, please support your union, Unite, as it strives to change it in this country for the better, and for us all. 

With thanks, 
Len McCluskey:  Unite general secretary

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