UNIONS BUY WAY BACK INTO POWER; EXCLUSIVE Crisis forces new alliance THE DEMANDS Seats on a new board of trustees Cap on election war chests Members' subscription fees linked to earnings Control of donations from businessmen.Byline: PAUL GILFEATHER
UNIONS are set to seize control of Labour's finances following the worst cash crisis in the party's history.
Bosses have drawn up a tough strategy that includes linking membership subs to earnings, tighter controls on election war chests and outlawing controversial donations.
In return for their cash clout and fresh loyalty, unions will get more say in the running of the party.
Their move, which will bulldoze bull·doze
v. bull·dozed, bull·doz·ing, bull·dozes
1. To clear, dig up, or move with a bulldozer.
2. To treat in an abusive manner; bully.
3. Labour's pounds 8million debt, signals their re-emergence as a major force following a steady breakdown in relations over the past year.
The new bond will make Tony Blair Noun 1. Tony Blair - British statesman who became prime minister in 1997 (born in 1953)
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, Blair fear fresh pressure from union chiefs striving for better pay and conditions for millions of workers. But a party source said: "Without their millions the party couldn't survive.
"So in return the unions will now have a bigger say than ever before in how that money is spent."
News of the power-shift to the likes of TGWU TGWU (in Britain) Transport and General Workers Union
TGWU n abbr (BRIT) (= Transport and General Workers' Union) → sindicato de transportistas
TGWU n abbr (Brit deputy chief and Labour treasurer Jimmy Elsby and Aslef boss Mick Rix Mick Rix (born 11 April 1963 in Barnsley, South Yorkshire), is a British trade unionist.
Seen as a member of the awkward squad of left wing union leaders, Rix has been a member of the Socialist Labour Party and the Stop the War Coalition, will delight those who feared a new era of state funding.
The two will be among senior figures on a new board of trustees governing how party cash is spent.
Unions blame the crisis, which has seen Labour forced from its Millbank HQ, on "unauthorised" spending in the run-up to the 2001 election. Now the board will vet donations and control "sprees" with a cap on campaigns well below the current pounds 20million.
A source said: "It will be a shock to some ministers but we are determined to get the house in order."
Labour members earning pounds 25,000 a year may also have to pay pounds 5 more than the standard pounds 24 subscription.
Membership is just 280,000 - down 120,000 since the 1997 sweep to power.
Individual party donations will also be scrutinised in a bid to avoid scandals like the acceptance of porn baron Richard Desmond's pounds 1million.
And renegade leaders will be wooed at a time when some left-wing unions like Rail, Maritime and Transport are withdrawing funding following rows over public services.
The new era was cemented with the news that Commons Leader Robin Cook will join the train drivers' union Aslef - which along with the T&G has approved an emergency pounds 100,000 payment to Labour so it could meet day-to-day running costs.
Mr Cook quit the RMT RMT right mentotransverse (position of the fetus).
RMT 1. Registered Massage Therapist 2. Renal mesenchymal tumor after refusing to adopt its manifesto. But his decision to join a left-wing union which has been heavily critical of Mr Blair demonstrates the lengths to which Labour is now prepared to go.