You’ll have no doubt heard by now that there’s election on the horizon. An election you can take part in. An election where your voice really matters.
From August 14 you will get your chance to have your say in the future of the Labour Party – and by doing so –the future of the country. But only if you sign up as a Labour Party affiliate before noon on August 12.
This summer will see contests for the Labour party leader, deputy leader, Scottish leader and London mayor.
And thanks to changes in the way these leaders are elected, power is put back into your hands in a new One Member, One Vote (OMOV) system.
Historically, Labour leaders were elected through a three-college system – one college was formed of MPs, the other of trade union and affiliated societies members, and the third of Labour party members.
This meant a single MP’s vote had as much clout as 608 Labour party members’ votes and 12,915 union and affiliated members’ votes. With OMOV, however, every single vote carries equal weight – your vote is just as good as your MP’s.
These changes, which were welcomed by Unite, were introduced last year to make the process a more democratic one.
How can I vote as a Unite member?
The new system means that political-levy paying trade union members won’t get an automatic vote as in previous elections – they’ll have to sign up individually as an Affiliated Supporter.
The process is easy and costs nothing – Unite is now contacting members both by phone and in the workplace to help you to sign up if you want to.
To become an Affiliated Supporter, and so be able to vote in the leadership contests, you must:
• pay the political levy and agree to support our collective affiliation. This costs nothing extra as it is included in your membership fee
• declare that you support the aims and values of the Labour party and that you don’t support any organisation opposed to the party
The entire process, which only takes a few minutes, may be completed online here.
Remember; you don’t have to support every Labour party policy to become an affiliate supporter, nor do you have to attend party meetings, although Affiliated Supporters are allowed to attend local meetings and take part in policy debates. But involvement in the life of the Party can be as much or as little as the supporter chooses.
Unite is not advising you who to back – that is entirely your decision.
Collectively, Unite has taken the view to support Jeremy Corbyn for leader. The backing for Jeremy Corbyn was in recognition that his policies were most closely aligned with those of Unite.
There is no Unite nomination for the position of deputy, but there is a recommendation to support Tom Watson and Angela Eagle, by using your first and second preferences as you see fit.
What’s the timetable?
June 17 – Labour leader and deputy leader hustings period begins. Find one near you here.
July 13 – was the last day that you could sign up as an affiliated or registered supporter, for Scottish Labour leader and deputy leader selections.
August 12 – is the last day that you can sign up as an affiliated supporter or registered supporter, at noon, for Labour leader, deputy leader , and London mayoral selections
August 14 – Ballots for Labour leader, deputy leader, and London mayor despatched. Ballot for Scottish leadership selection closes.
August 15 – Results of Scottish Labour leader and deputy leader selection announced
September 10 – Ballot for Labour leader leader, deputy leader and London mayor closes, at noon
September 12 – Results for Labour leader, deputy leader and London mayor announced
Unite political director Jennie Formby urges everyone to sign up and help shape a party that truly reflects the hopes and dreams of ordinary working people.
“It can only be a good thing if the men and women of our workplaces, our family, friends and neighbours have a say in political life,” she said.
“Politics is not some elite sport. It matters to our lives so it needs our members and the millions like them to keep it rooted in reality. This is a real chance to grab a bit of people power and get stuck into changing our country for the better.”
What are you waiting for?
For more information on how to sign up, or help with running a workplace campaign, contact Anneliese Midgley at Anneliese.Midgley@unitetheunion.org.