Great Russell Street
WC1 B 3LS
I am a Unite representative and a member of the TUC on the Isle of Wight. We welcomed the talk by Laurie Haselden who came to the Island on 18th February to speak in support of fair pay fortnight. We discussed this issue at our recent meeting and a consensus was reached that I should write to you about a particular concern.
Mr Haselden stated very strongly that the TUC was non party political and needed to be so as it had to work with which ever party was in power and indeed on your website you state this as part of your description of the TUC.
Nevertheless we do not believe that the general public is properly aware of this and we are not sure people would believe this message, particularly as at least two of the larger unions, Unite and Unison, clearly donate to the Labour party. Unite adopted the proposals of the Collins review but say in their political strategy document that they are actively working to encourage members to affiliate to the Labour party. Unison likewise has an opt in to a political fund for the Labour party as an alternative to their general political fund. In people’s minds TUC means Unions and Unions means Labour. With the variety of political parties we see today we believe that many people are put off joining a union or misunderstand the work of the TUC as a result of this. We believe your independence of party politics is very important and wonder if this could be made more visible on your website and in your general communications. We believe it needs to be overstated to counteract the impression given by some of your Unions.