how we work together

Labour and its 15 affiliated trade unions have strong formal and informal links, at a national and a local level.

These links have existed since the Party was formed out of the union movement at the beginning of the 20th Century.

The relationship works because of the way that unions are constitutionally involved in the Labour Party’s democratic structures; and also because of the thousands of trade union members who join the Labour Party and get involved themselves.

Working together nationally

In affiliating to the Labour Party, trade unions get to play a major part in the Party’s decision-making processes. This includes appointing members of the Party’s executive, and its policy-forming body (the National Policy Forum) and sending delegates to its sovereign annual conference. Unions use all of these mechanisms to make sure that the Labour Party’s policies reflect the interests of working people.

Working together through TULO

TULO (the Trade Union and Labour Party Liaison Organisation) was set up to bring together Labour’s affiliated unions, in order to ensure the Party and the unions work well together. Through the National TULO Committee, the General Secretaries of all the affiliated unions meet regularly with senior Labour Party officials and Ministers, to discuss policy matters and campaigns of concern to the trade unions.

Currently, the Trade Union Chair of the National TULO Committee is Tony Woodley, Joint General Secretary of Unite. Paul Kenny, the General Secretary of the GMB is TULO’s Vice Chair.

Working together locally

The formal relationship between the Party and the affiliated unions is mirrored locally, with unions getting involved with the democratic structures of the Party at a regional and constituency level. Regionally, officials of the unions and the Party meet regularly through the Regional TULO Committees. You can find out more about how the unions work together in the regions here, and more about how to get involved in your local Labour Party here


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