Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish secretary explains: “Like all trade unions, UNISON is required in law to have a political fund for campaigning generally and specifically to affiliate or donate to any political party.
“UNISON is unique in giving members four options - to join the General Political Fund for general campaigning, or the Affiliated Fund which is connected to the Labour Party, or contribute to both, or to opt out of the fund.
The best way to define this is to list the kind of campaigns that the union could not have mounted without a political fund.
promoting and defending public services through Scotland’s Public Works campaign
lobbying and campaigning against outsourcing and privatisation, including the victory in Edinburgh
campaigning for fairer pay through the Worth It campaign
fighting racism and discrimination, including our successful fight against the BNP
improving employment rights, including paid holidays, rights for agency workers - and building support to stamp out zero hours contract abuses
getting legislation for more equality including through public sector equalities duties
extending coverage of the Scottish Living Wage and getting this issue up the political agenda in the Scottish Parliament and in public sector agencies and the Third Sector.
UNISON Scotland support for the People’s Assembly and we have contributed to a new campaigning guide issued by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity Scotland.
UNISON Scotland responses to consultations conducted by the Scottish Parliament are in part resourced from the Political Fund and have included:
Appointments to Public Bodies Building Standards Careers Service Energy & Fuel Poverty Environment Equality Ethical Standards m Finance Freedom of Information Health & Community Care Housing Justice Lobbying PPP/PFI Regulation of Care.
More about UNISON's Unique Political Fund
Following a ballot of all members in 1995, UNISON uniquely decided to have a political fund with two sections. Following a ballot in Mrach 2005, 85% of those who voted said Yes to continue the fund, which will allow UNISON to continue campaigning in the political arena, including the current campaign to defend public sector pensions.
The General Political Fund (GPF) which finances political campaigns in the wider public arena. It is not affiliated to any political party - is used for general campaigning, for example the long campaign for a Scottish Parliament. A branch can access these funds when it needs to run campaigns concerning political decisions.
The Affiliated Political Fund (APF) or LabourLink finances our affiliation to the Labour Party.
Members individually choose which fund to contribute to. They can also decide to opt out of any political levy or contribute to both funds.