FBU Political Fund Review Ballot

Circular: 2004HOC0609JM

Dear Member

FBU Political Fund Review Ballot

Any day now you will be asked to take part in a ballot to renew the FBU's Political Fund. The law states that unions must have a separate Political Fund to pay for certain types of political campaigning. Furthermore unions are required by law to ballot their members every ten years to retain the Fund.

Keeping the Political Fund is vital to defend the rights the FBU has already won and to ensure that the Union can continue to campaign for new rights and improvements for members. Winning a YES vote in the forthcoming ballot is also crucial so that the FBU can continue to take workplace campaigns into the political arena - influence political decisions and have a say on changes in the law.

If the FBU were to lose it's Political Fund, much of the work the Union does could be seriously hampered. Campaigns such as NO2 Fire Deaths, the defence of Emergency Fire Control members and our Integrated Risk Management Planning (IRMP) strategy would be put in jeopardy.

So would a political fight to get members working the Retained Duty System a pension, should our current battle through the courts fail. Indeed, any number of bread and butter workplace campaigns to improve your health and safety would be undermined.

Ensuring that politicians understand the implication of their decisions for Firefighters and Firefighters (Control) working at the sharp-end of service delivery is central to the FBU's work; work carried out by the FBU on your behalf to ensure your employers provide you with what you need to get the job done properly at emergency incidents, in Controls, in Fire Safety Departments and so on.

Without a political fund, our ability to influence the IRMP decision-making process will be severely affected. And for FBU members, working on the frontline, this affects your health and safety. It affects your ability to work effectively at emergency incidents in line with the Standard Operating Procedures you train against. It affects your ability to prevent a fire injury becoming a fire fatality.

This ballot is not about affiliation to any political party. But because the law defines much of the Union’s work as potentially 'political', we need to keep the Political Fund to pay for many of our campaigns.

You will be aware that the Union took the decision to disaffiliate from the Labour Party at our Annual Conference in June. This decision means that money from the Political Fund is now freed up to plough into campaigns that put members first in the workplace.

All members have a right to vote in the ballot whether or not they pay into the Political Fund. Voting YES in the ballot, will not affect the right to opt in or out of the Political Fund - this choice will remain. But a no vote could seriously affect the FBU as an effective, campaigning union.

A ballot paper will be sent directly to your home address on Friday 15 th October and should arrive shortly afterwards. A pre-paid envelope will be enclosed with the ballot and voting papers must be returned no later than 12 th November.

The FBU wants to keep your professional needs at the heart of our work - don't tie your Union's hands. Vote YES in the Political Fund Ballot.

Let's put members first.

Yours sincerely

John McGhee
National Officer

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