THE GMB Central Executive Council (CEC) has voted to reduce its current levels of affiliation to the Labour Party from 420,000 to 50,000 from 2014.
This will reduce the union’s basic affiliation fee to the Labour Party by £1.1m per year.
The GMB CEC expressed ‘considerable regret about the apparent lack of understanding that the proposal mooted by Ed Miliband will have on the collective nature of trade union engagement with the Labour Party.
‘A further source of considerable regret to the CEC is that the party that had been formed to represent the interest of working people in this country intends to end collective engagement of trade unions in the party they helped to form.’
The CEC also decided to scale down by one third the level of its national political fund.
The GMB union is to cut the affiliation funds it gives Labour from £1.2m to £150,000 in the wake of the row over reforms, it announced.
The union said there would also be cuts in spending on Labour campaigns.
The changes will take effect from the start of next year.
Meanwhile Unite’s NEC is to debate a motion to boycott the Labour Party conference over the ongoing row over their efforts to have a pro-trade union candidate selected to stand for parliament in Falkirk, Scotland.
Unite in Scotland are urging: ‘the NEC to consider the most appropriate means of advancing the case of Unite and its activists in relation to the Falkirk selection issue at the 2013 Labour Party conference in Brighton.
‘Should the suspension of Stephen Deans, regional chair, and Karie Murphy, regional political committee delegate, still be in place, the position of the Scottish delegation to the conference will be one of non-attendance in support of Stephen and Karie.’
Unite and the GMB are two of the biggest trade union donors to the Labour Party.
Of the £3.14m the party received in the three months from April to June, the GMB gave £486,000.
The five biggest union donations – from Unite, the GMB, Unison, Usdaw and the Communication Workers Union – came to £2.27m in total.
What is driving the growing split between the Labour Party and the trade unions, who created the Labour party, built it, and still finance it, is that as the capitalist crisis deepens and the working class is hit by wage cuts, huge price rises, job cuts, and vast benefit cuts, the response of the Labour Party has been to move rapidly to the right to compete with the Tories over who has the ‘best’ austerity programme.
Labour has pledged to maintain 99% of the many Tory austerity measures and has also pledged that it is prepared to intensify them, if the crisis of capitalism demands more austerity to save the bosses and bankers.
As well, it has moved to the right and has declared that it will break the power of the unions in the Labour Party, excluding them from the Labour Party as an organised force.
This is being done so that if the crisis demands it, Labour will be able to form a national government with the Tories, as Ramsay MacDonald did in 1931 to save capitalism at the expense of the working class.
To do this Miliband wants to to get rid of what is left of the trade union block vote and make individual membership of the Labour Party the rule.
Apeing the US Democratic Party he wants to have decisions on selecting candidates to stand as MPs made by primaries, that Labour Party members and non members who feel some sympathy with Labour can attend and vote at.
He also wants this method used to select the leader of the party itself. He wants to destroy the Labour Party and have a Democratic Party in its place.
The response of the trade union leaders to this proposed destruction of the Labour party has been mild. The trade unions must declare war on the Miliband leadership of the Labour party.
The union leaders must demand at the TUC Conference that Labour must oppose the austerity programme and fight the next election on the defence of the NHS and the Welfare State.
The TUC must decide that if Labour will not do this the trade unions will halt all finances to Labour and will stand TUC anti-austerity socialist candidates in all seats where the sitting Labour MP supports austerity and opposes the TUC’s socialist programme.