I am extremely pleased to announce that the FBU’s political fund ballot has resulted in a Yes Vote. FBU members returned a 74% Yes vote on a 42% turnout.
FBU members have been through a hard two-and-a-half years in which the world of ‘politics’ has been found badly wanting. They are to be congratulated. So are busy officials for finding the time and energy to inform members and respond to their queries about the ballot.
The ballot result is extremely good news for FBU members.
It means the Union can take our workplace campaigns – NO2 Fire Deaths, our IRMP strategy, the battle for members working the retained duty system and the fight against regional controls – into the political arena, lobbying and influencing politicians in Westminster, Brussels, on local councils and the devolved parliament of Scotland and the Northern Ireland and Welsh Assemblies.
We can continue to campaign, alongside other unions, for improved health and safety legislation, union rights, pensions and employment rights.
We can press ahead with widening the FBU’s current parliamentary group to ensure a greater impact on policy making now and in the future.
Further, following disaffiliation from the Labour Party, we have more money to spend on broad education programmes aimed at boosting the Union’s capacity to fight political campaigns in a rapidly changing environment.
In short, we can now move ahead with revitalising the Union’s political work to ensure it is even more responsive to the needs of members. This is the major challenge and opportunity facing the Union now.
At the same time, the results present a challenge for the Union to persuade those members who currently do not pay into the fund – some 12.5% of the membership - to do so.
We have cleared a major hurdle to building the campaigning strength of the Union.
Now let’s get on with the job of putting Members First!