Martin Smith

Funds for the Future

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New Labour can no longer take the trade unions' money for granted.

For over 100 years the trade union movement has supported the Labour Party both politically and financially. Last year alone trade unions donated £10 million to Labour's coffers. But, as last month's Socialist Alliance trade union conference showed, New Labour can no longer take that support for granted. With over 1,000 trade unionists attending, it was the biggest unofficial trade union gathering in over two decades. The key debate was the question of opening up the unions' political funds to parties that oppose privatisation, defend union rights and protect jobs.

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