Delegates at UNISON’s annual conference have backed a motion to reject the First Past the Post voting system and instead adopt proportional representation (PR) for UK general elections.
This was the latest in a line of successes for the Politics for the Many campaign, which is coordinated by Campaign Collective and supported by the Electoral Reform Society
Unison is the UK’s biggest union and joins a growing number in support of electoral reform. Other unions supporting a fairer voting system include Unite, PCS, Aslef, Musicians Union, Prospect, UCU and TSSA, with CWU currently reviewing their policy too.
Campaigners were at the conference all week, talking to delegates and running popular fringe events. These included a well-attended fish ‘n’ chip supper at trendy seafront restaurant, Monarch in Brighton, addressed by Sam Tarry MP.
There is growing momentum across the trade union and Labour movement for PR. The Unison vote comes less than a year after the policy was narrowly defeated at the Labour Party’s annual conference due to a lack of support amongst union representatives despite 80% of local party delegates supporting the change.
There is increasing concern that the First Past the Post system creates ‘safe seats’ leaving many people feeling that their vote doesn’t count.
In addition, the First Past the Post voting system creates an incentive for governments to funnel public funding to a handful of swing seats that they need to take power. This means there is an inbuilt incentive to distribute resources to certain areas and not necessarily those with greatest need.
Electoral reformers are calling for the First Past the Post voting system to be replaced by a proportional voting system that can ensure all voices across the country are fairly represented in the UK Parliament.