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Joining Unite and eligibility to vote in Labour leadership elect

Joining Unite the union – eligibility to vote in the 2016 Labour leadership election


Unite is a trade union representing working people in most sectors of the economy.  
People seeking to join Unite are of course very welcome but they should join at the appropriate rate.
For speed of process, we would advise would be members to join online .


If you are in work, then please join Unite at the full rate, which is £14.06 per month.
If you are not in paid employment; a student, carer, retired or unemployed, membership costs just 50p a week which can be paid annually or monthly by Direct Debit.

You can find out more about the category of membership that is most appropriate for you by visiting join Unite.

All Unite members are eligible to vote in the Labour leadership election provided:

  1. They pay the political levy – this will be the case unless the member has opted out.
  2. They have agreed to be affiliated to the Labour party and have signed a statement that they support the aims and values of the Labour party and are not a supporter of any other political party.  Unite members should sign up at before 8 August 2016 .
  3. That they are on the electoral register at the address given to the union and the Labour party.
  4. That have provided a date of birth and email address. 
  5. They have joined Unite and signed up as an affiliated member by 8 August 2016 . The Labour party will be conducting the election.

The Labour party will be first check applications against the electoral register and then will conduct checks on members to ensure that they are not supporters of any other parties. Unite does not have any role in this process. 

All queries about the election timetable and process should be directed to the Labour party at

Existing members should sign up at and are subject to the conditions set out in the guidance.  


URGENT UPDATE: The Labour party procedures committee has ruled that an affiliated union member must be a member of their affiliated union for 6 months and be registered as an affiliated supporter by 8 August 2016. This is a change from last year's election.

Do not assume that as a new Unite member you will be entitled to a vote. Please read the guidance below fully.
The only way to guarantee a vote is to join the Labour party as a registered member, which costs £25.
Registered membership opens on 18 July and closes on 20 July. The website will only be available from the 18 July.
Unite will obviously be following developments very closely and will post updates as soon as possible.


Unite members can apply to be Labour party affiliated supporters and therefore be eligible for a vote in Labour’s leadership elections, but there are criteria for applications to be accepted.

Unite members must: 

  • Have been a member of the union since 12 January 2016
  • Pay the political levy – this will be the case unless the member has opted out. It is a portion of member subscriptions to fund political campaigning by the union.
  • Agree to the statement that they support the aims and values of the Labour party and are not a supporter of any other political party and agree for their contact details to be shared with the Labour party.
  • Be on the electoral register at the address given to the union and the Labour party.
  • Provide a date of birth and email address. 

Apply to be an affiliated supporter before 8 August 2016. To do this, fill in the form here



Welcome to Unite Politics – get involved and be heard!

Unite is a fighting back union and we fight back for our members regardless of the Party in government, although of course we were very disappointed by the result of the General Election.  

But in the Leadership election that followed, Unite members took part in their thousands, enthused by the chance to engage in a genuine debate about what and who Labour stands for, and the sort of nation we want modern Britain to be.  Following extensive consultation with lay members, Unite backed Jeremy Corbyn so we were delighted when he was elected with nearly 60% of the vote.

Welcoming the result, Len McCluskey said:  “The Corbyn team deserves particular credit for inspiring young and old alike, for pointing the way towards how Labour can transform itself to once again be the people’s party.

“Voters can now look at Labour and see, unquestionably, that it stands for fairness, justice, peace and strong communities.  It is the party of hope, ready to take on a government hell-bent on making life worse for ordinary people.

“The task now for all of us who support Labour is to back the leadership team, to unite, to turn to face the Tories and hold them to account.  It is what the voters expect, it is the way back to power and it is the duty of those at all levels of the party to deliver.”

Unite’s political strategy encourages all members to get involved and play their part so we can deliver on the four key elements agreed by our Executive Council:

  • Winning working people for Labour – encouraging members to get involved at all levels of the Labour Party so that it is truly representative of our society .
  • Winning Labour for working people – making our voice heard on the policy issues that are most important to ordinary people, their families and their communities .
  • Building a broad alliance to beat the Tories – working with other like-minded groups who support our values to fight back against cuts and austerity .
  • Most important – winning a Labour Government that governs in the interests of working people

These pages will give you regular updates and resources to help you get involved, including joining forms for Unite members (who can join Labour at discounted rates), simple guides to explain Labour Party structures and process and information about Unite events and political schools.

Contact us if you want any more information – and if you haven’t already done so, you can get involved immediately by signing up as an affiliated supporter ; it’s free for all political levy payers and simple to do.

Anneliese Midgley
Unite Political Director


Before Posting

We welcome debate and discussion on our website, but we also want an open, respectful, inclusive space in which forms of abuse or personal attack will not be tolerated. Comments will be moderated and will be removed if they are found to be unduly offensive. You should also be very careful in posting information about your employer. Employers do visit the website and if you think a comment could get you into trouble for releasing confidential or sensitive information, or for bringing the employer into disrepute, please do not post it. It remains your individual responsibility to ensure that what you post is appropriate. Please therefore just give a moment's thought to what you are saying. The types of comments that are likely to be moderated are:

  • Personal abuse or attacks on an individual.
  • Information which breaches another person's right to confidentiality.
  • The use of offensive language, including swear words, or language which is racist, sexist, or otherwise breaches equalities standards.
  • Anything that might place the Branch or the wider union in legal jeopardy.
  • Adverts or information which is posted for commercial gain.

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