Unite has a formal role in the Labour party at every level – from Unite branch delegates attending local Labour party meetings and leading campaigns, to the union’s national affiliation and places on the National Executive Committee, policy commissions and at Conference.
This means that Unite members have a collective voice in the Labour Party but if you are a political levy payer, you can also get involved as an individual Affiliated Supporter - a new category of Labour Party member. As an Affiliated Supporter, you are entitled to attend local Labour Party meetings. You can speak and contribute but you need to be a full member of the Labour Party to participate in votes either on motions or in elections for local officers. You can join as a full member at a reduced rate using this form.
Unite political strategy
The Unite EC endorsed a document outlining the union's political strategy in December 2011. This gives details of how to make that link a vibrant one, working for ordinary people and how Unite members are encouraged to take a leading role in the Labour party at every level so that all parts of our democracy reflect Unite's working class values. You can download a copy of the Unite political strategy here.
Unite's political structures
Unite has a political structure of Regional Labour Party Liaison Committees and a National Labour Party Liaison Committee to implement the political policies of the union and to drive activity in the regions. These committees are elected by members at regional political conferences every three years.
The Trade Union and Labour Party Liaison Organisation (TULO) is the body within the Labour party which coordinates union activity and acts as a forum for communication between the party and the 15 affiliated unions as well as running campaigns and events. You can find more information here.
Labour Party Conference
The Labour Party Conference is held each autumn and Unite sends one of the largest delegations.
Conference debates a variety of policy areas and sets the agenda for the year. Reports are given by the various policy commissions and motions put forward by constituency Labour parties and unions are voted on. New rules and amendments to rules are decided at conference and elections for internal committees are held there.
Unite submits a motion to Labour Party Conference each year, and Unite members speak in many of the key debates. In past years Unite motions have been on Banking Regulation (2009) an alternative Economic and Industrial Strategy (2010), the phone hacking of News International (2011);a British Investment Bank (2012); collective bargaining (2013); rights for workers (2014); and the Trade Union Bill (2015)
Unite is actively engaged in the Labour party policy process, with representatives on the National Policy Forum and in policy commissions