RMT Political Fund Ballot - Your Union - Your Voice

To: All Branches, Regional Councils and Regional Organisers

19th May 2014
Circular No. NP092/14

Dear Colleague


The law say that that all unions must have a separate Political Fund if they want to spend money campaigning on issues that have a political content. The Political Fund is made up by deducting money from member’s union subscriptions. This is known as the “political levy” and amounts to just £3.12 a year, or 26p a month.

The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 states unions are required to hold a ballot of their entire membership every ten years to approve its political resolution for a Political Fund.  The RMT ballot must be concluded in November 2014 at the latest with a 9 week ballot period.

Arising from a C of E decision, I am seeking to coordinate a common open of ballot date with the other rail unions as we did for our previous ballot and I will advise you of the date as soon as possible.

In previous RMT / NUR / NUS ballots members have voted overwhelmingly to retain the Political Fund but this has been after a rigorous campaign by our activists and it is notable that where unions have not held such a campaign they have also lost their Political Fund.

The key message of the RMT campaign will be that:

•    RMT Members need a political voice. Politicians make decisions, which affect the lives of RMT members at work and home. It could be about your pension, employment rights, safety and the future of the industry you work in.

•    On all these and other issues the RMT needs to be able to influence decisions. That is why we have the political levy that pays for the union’s Political Fund. 

•    If we lose the Political Fund the union will not be able to run political campaigns to defend our member’s interests.  That means the employers (who don’t have to have a Political Fund of course!) will have a huge advantage over the union. If we lose the Political Fund we will be fighting with one hand tied behind our back.

•    The Political Fund and political levy is not about affiliation or support for any political party.  The political levy and the Political Fund is used to allow the union to run political campaigns and lobby politicians on the bread and butter issues that affect RMT members at the workplace. These include,

•    Pay, conditions and pensions
•    Safety and Rights at work
•    Against McNulty and for Public Ownership of The Railways
•    Opposition to job losses on London Transport
•    Support for jobs for UK seafarers
•    Improved offshore safety
•    Public ownership of the Bus Industry
•    Safer hours for road transport workers
•    Against deregulation of the taxi trade

I will be alerting members to the importance of the campaign and campaign propaganda for distribution to activists and branches is being prepared. 
Yours sincerely 

Mick Cash                   
Acting General Secretary