The relationship between the Labour Party and the CWU operates at three levels: national, regional and local.
National: The CWU is represented on the Labour Party's National Executive Committee in the Trades Union section by Andy Kerr, CWU Deputy general Secretary (Telecoms and FInancial Services). The union is represented on the National Policy Forum by General Secretary Billy Hayes.
The CWU also has representation on the Trade Union Liaison Committee with the General Secretary, which brings trade unions together in order to organise support during election campaigns.
Regional: There are eleven Labour Party Regions and the CWU is represented on most of the Regional Executive Committees. These act as administrative units to co ordinate the work of the Party.
Local: Each Branch of the CWU can affiliate to Constituency Labour Parties within their boundaries. The CWU Branch can then send a nominated delegate to CLP meetings to support the work of the Party in that Parliamentary Constituency.
The CWU is able to send delegations of its members to both the national Labour Party Annual Conference and Regional Labour Party Conferences. At these conferences, the union is given voting rights in accordance with its affiliated membership, weighted by a 50:50 percentage division between trade union and CLP voting strengths. The CWU has a direct input into debates by being able to submit motions and amendments and through contributions by its delegates.
The CWU has nomination rights for candidates involved in standing for Parliament in individual Parliamentary Constituencies. Up until 1993, trade unions had voting rights in Parliamentary selections, but the move to a One Member, One Vote (OMOV) procedure limited trade union involvement to nominations.
The following are CWU constituency supported MPs:
- Joe Benton (Bootle) former Girobank Clerical Officer
- Michael Connarty (Linlithgow & East Falkirk)
- Jon Cruddas (Dagenham and Rainham)
- Peter Hain (Neath) former UCW Head of Research
- Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)
- Bob Laxton (Derby North) former BT Engineer
Constituency Development Plan Agreements have been established with the Constituencies of the following MPs:
- Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North)
- Sadiq Khan (Tooting)
- Malcolm Wicks (Croydon North)
The CWU also has a special relationship with two members of the House of Lords who are former UCW/CWU officers:
- Lord Clarke of Hampstead and
- Lord Young of Norwood Green
All these politicians are from the Labour Party.
POLITICAL FUND MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
Internally the CWU has the above committee to manage the Political Fund of the union. By law, the union is required to ballot its members on retaining a Political Fund every 10 years. The last ballot was held in 2004 and 73% voted in favour of retaining the Fund. The PFMC deals with all political matters except policy issues which are handled by the Policy, Education & Training Committee.
LABOUR PARTY MEMBERSHIP
Under the rules of membership agreed by the Labour Party in 1993, trade union members belonging to a union affiliated to the Labour Party can join the Labour Party as full members for only £12 a year. The CWU has run many recruitment initiatives to maximise recruitment to the Labour Party from its own ranks.