Labour Party (UK) affiliated trade union
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In British politics, the term affiliated trade union refers to a trade union that has an affiliation to the British Labour Party. The party was created by the trade unions and socialist societies in 1900 as the Labour Representation Committee. Since then, the unions have retained close institutional links with the Party. During Tony Blair's leadership of the Labour Party the RMT and Fire Brigades Union severed their links. However the Fire Brigades Union re-affiliated to the Labour Party in November 2015.
The nature of affiliation means that the unions pay an annual fee to the Labour Party; in return, they and their members receive the privileges of affiliated membership. Unions select twelve of the thirty-two members of the Labour National Executive Committee and elect fifty per cent of the delegates to Labour Party Conference. In many cases, local union branches also affiliate to Constituency Labour Parties and their members who are also individual members of the Party may represent the Union as delegates on Labour Party structures.
Members of the unions may opt out of the affiliation, so that the member is not allowed to take part in any Labour Party ballots (such as the leadership election) in which other members of the affiliated union are involved.
Since 1994, affiliated trade unions have organised themselves into TULO - The Trade Union & Labour Party Liaison Organisation, with a small number of staff to manage the relationship between the unions and the Party. A national TULO committee, with the unions' general secretaries, the Party Leader and Deputy Leader, General Secretary and NEC Chair and MPs' representatives, meets regularly to co-ordinate work and policy.
As of April 2017, the trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party are:
- Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF)
- Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU)
- Community (formerly KFAT & ISTC)
- Communication Workers Union (CWU)
- Fire Brigades Union (FBU)
- Musicians Union (MU)
- National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)
- Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA)
- UNISON (The Public Services Union)
- Unite (general workers in public and private sectors)
- Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW)
The General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) represents its members, seven of the smaller unions, on many of the committees if they cannot send a delegate. In January 2017, the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) merged with Prospect, a trade union that represents Civil Servants and other professionals. Because Prospect represents Civil Servants, they are politically neutral and so BECTU disaffiliated from the Labour Party as a condition of the merger.
- "FBU in historic affiliation to Labour | Fire Brigades Union". www.fbu.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
- "Unions Together". www.unionstogether.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-06.