The way we as trade-unionists have our say in the Labour Party has changed.
In the past, members of trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party were automatically given a say. But, under changes agreed by the trade unions, in order to have our say each union member must now sign-up as an “affiliated trade union supporter”.
There are many reasons for the change, but the principle is very simple; if we make the choice to sign-up, our voice will be heard.
That is more important now than ever.
Trade unions are the largest voluntary membership organisations in the country by many, many millions. In fact, no other group of organisations even come close.
It is because of our enduring importance in the workplace, and the hard work of thousands of reps up and down the country that - despite the decline in the manufacturing industries – millions of working people are still members of trade unions. Far higher than our opponents on the right would give us credit for.
Trade unionists, like us, should be proud of the positive and integral role we have played in society over what is now three centuries.
From a decent wage for working people who lived in the abject penury of the burgeoning industrial era through to maternity and paternity pay, health and safety at work, and in the fight for equality, we have been at the forefront.
That is what trade unions and trade unionism means. And that is what we have given to this country and the world.
It, therefore, certainly says more about the Conservative Party and their reckless ideology, that they want to destroy rather than work with trade unionists who are standing up for their colleagues every single day in thousands of workplaces across the country.
The Labour Party cannot lose our voice. It is that simple.
It was construction workers, working alongside Labour politicians who introduced the legislation which put safety at work at the top of the agenda; it was women factory workers along with a Labour Secretary of State which gave us equal pay; and it was shop workers who led the charge for the National Minimum Wage.
The Labour Party remains the best vehicle for workers to achieve much more in the future. But without trade unionists, it will lose its guiding voice.
So sign-up here today and get involved. It won’t cost you a penny
Danny Coyne is the unionstogether Campaigns Officer and a member of Unite the Union.