Political neutrality reaffirmed

Conference reaffirms Prospect’s political neutrality

Delegates reaffirmed Prospect’s political neutrality by rejecting a call for the national executive committee to survey prospective parliamentary candidates on legal changes affecting workers’ rights.

The motion said the survey would help the union make informed recommendations to members as to how to vote in forthcoming elections.

Tom Machell (BT Sheffield) outlined the continuing attacks on rights at work and the erosion of legal protections for workers. He said the International Labour Organisation found that the UK had the worst protection for workers and the worst anti trade union legislation in Europe.

He said a questionnaire could be used locally or by sectors to gather information from candidates. It would help to “make workers’ rights central to the election debates in 2015”.

David Avery (Scottish Government) urged delegates to oppose the motion because it crosses “the rubicon of political impartiality”.

With 129 members of the Scottish Parliament, 24 different parties and hundreds of candidates, the motion’s instruction was unworkable, he said. In any case, candidates will refer you to the national position he added.

Alan Atherton (Defence Equipment and Support) asked conference to remit the motion. He agreed with the necessity to “understand what your MP is pushing for” but was concerned that wording of the motion was against Prospect policy.

Delegates agreed and remitted the motion.