Labour special conference to attack the unions!

The front of last October’s 500,000-strong TUC demonstration – Miliband is determined to drive the organised trade unions out of the Labour Party
The front of last October’s 500,000-strong TUC demonstration – Miliband is determined to drive the organised trade unions out of the Labour Party

THE Labour Party is to hold a Special Conference in London in March next year in which the Miliband leadershipwill seek the abolition of the trade union block vote, breaking the power of the trade unions in the party.

He wants to turn the party into another US-style Democratic Party to which unions can donate money without having any real say in party policy.

The special conference will be asked to approve Labour leader Miliband’s proposal that the 3m trade unionists currently affiliated will have to ‘opt in’ to funding the party, rather than having to ‘opt out’, as at present.

Under the current block vote system, the unions hold one third of the votes at the Labour Party conference to elect the leader.

Len McCluskey the leader of Unite, the biggest affiliated union, is in favour of the move.

Labour officials confirmed on Monday night that the planned changes include the abolition of the union bloc vote.

Miliband told a meeting in London on Monday night: ‘We’re going to build a new way of doing politics.

‘We want to open up our policy-making, clean up the lobbying industry and take the big money out of politics.’

He should try telling that to the bankers who back the Tory party.

Miliband added: ‘We want to let people back in. So I want all Labour Party members, supporters, trade union members involved in this dialogue, leading up to the special conference in the spring, to agree change.’

Lord Collins, former Labour Party General Secretary, is heading a review into the party-union link and will submit an interim report to Labour’s annual conference in Brighton in September.

Officials said he will ‘advise on any other rule changes that may be necessary as a result of these reforms,’ including the proportion of union votes at the annual conference and in leadership contests.

The Labour Party said there will be a ‘consultation exercise on the Collins report’ after the September conference.

Harriet Harman, the deputy Labour leader and Labour MP Phil Wilson will lead the campaign in favour of the changes in the run-up to the conference next March.

Harman is the wife of former leading Unite official and Labour MP Jack Dromey, while Wilson is Blair’s successor as MP for Sedgefield.

Wilson helped Blair organise the Labour Party Special Conference in 1995 which voted to abolish Clause IV of the Labour Party constitution – the clause which called for the nationalisation of the means of production.

Dave Wiltshire the secretary of the All Trades Unions Alliance commented: The trade unions founded the party, they built it and they finance it.

‘Now a gang of right wing careerists want to steal it away, and ape the Democrats in the US, so that they can form a national government with the Tories.

‘Instead of McCluskey-like cringing, the trade unions must fight this attempt to steal their party and stab the working class in the back. Instead they must show Miliband the door.’