Date Released: 07 October 2015
The SIPTU National Delegate Biennial Conference has voted this afternoon (Wednesday, 7th October) for a review to be undertaken of the use of the union’s political fund with the aim of producing a report on possible changes to be discussed at a Special Conference in early 2017.
Following a debate on a motion proposing the review and one calling on disaffiliation from the Labour Party, delegates overwhelming voted to not change the operation of the union’s political fund prior to an extensive consultation process with members.
SIPTU NEC member and Community Sector activist, David Connolly, said the SIPTU NEC had “set up a political strategy subcommittee to undertake a fundamental reassessment of the future political engagement and priorities of the union.”
Connolly added that “while there is a long term historical connection between the union and the Labour Party” the emergence in recent years of a number of other Left-wing parties meant that the union should now work towards building political unity between these groups “based on agreed values and objectives”.
Proposing the motion calling for the immediate disaffiliation of the union from the Labour Party, SIPTU Education Sector delegate, Kieran Allen, said he was calling for the union to implement a “level playing field” for all Left-wing parties.
He said that it was unacceptable the political fund could only be used to support Labour Party candidates.
SIPTU Health Division delegate, Brian Condra, said that union members must be made aware that the political fund was not merely used for funding electioncandidates but utilised for a wide range of activities including campaigns for workers’ rights and against austerity.
He said that the union should not rush into any decision on the future use of the political fund. “This is a big decision and not one that can be taken lightly. A Special Conference in 2017 gives us time and space to engage with our membership and to move forward with the confidence that we are not being led into a situation which will not benefit trade unionism.”