Letter No 8a by Mike Allott: back to directory

11 Feb 2004


Unions' fund of support

You say the breach between the Labour party and the RMT union is "a rift which could widen into the most serious since the creation of the SDP in 1981" (Labour's founding union to be expelled after ignoring ultimatum, February 7).

I am a Labour party member and have been a trade unionist for nearly 40 years. But I do not share any sense of nostalgia. The relationship between the party and the unions will inevitably become more distant as a result of the pace of change in modern society and the breaking down of traditional class barriers. This process is not a "rift".

My union, Unifi, with its roots in banking, will shortly vote on a proposal to merge with Amicus, which has blue-collar roots. Such a merger will form the country's largest "super-union". Both unions, have evolved and modernised. They are now ready to join together in the interests of their members - not for any political motive. Amicus, because of its roots, is still affiliated to Labour. Unifi has a policy of non-affiliation.

Surely, nowadays, political affiliation has little relevance to the rank and file. The new "super unions" will have to be above party politics and put history behind them if they are to best represent the interests of all their members.

Mike Allott
Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh