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. To do this we need 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 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.
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), or not to pay into the fund at all. The 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.
Supporting members to campaign locally
Much of the high-profile political campaign work you see from UNISON is paid for by the general political fund – 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.
Vote ‘YES’ in the ballot
This vote is not about which part of the fund you support – it’s about whether our union is able to speak up for us, which is why every UNISON member should vote ‘YES’ in the ballot. Ballot papers were mailed out with U magazine in late October – if you have not received yours please call 0800 0857 857. Ballot papers must be returned by 30 November 2014.