Thursday, November 09, 2006

Labour's money pledge for unions

Labour's first policy pledge for the Welsh assembly election, a commitment of funds to trade unions is on the face of it a sweetener for their paymasters. Although New Labour in London is trying to distance itself from the trade unions, affiliated unions still have a third share in electing the party leader. The traditional relationship tends to persist in Wales, too.

However, not all the unions in the TUC are affiliated to the Labour Party, and Labour's election campaigns are increasingly reliant on businessmen for finance. We should also distinguish between the funds proposed for "restructuring", about which Labour certainly has questions to answer, and those for education.

Not enough credit has been given to unions in the past for their efforts on the social and educational front. They have been very effective in delivering education, and it is surely right that a future Welsh government should take advantage of efficient means of delivery of education and training, whether it is provided by the TUC, the CBI, charities or the conventional structures.
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