Ed Miliband is pushing ahead with his plan to weaken the union link to Labour.
He is proposing that members of affiliated unions opt in to party membership in future rather than opting out.
This will be put to a vote at a conference in the spring.
Miliband called for the millions of trade union members at the moment to join Labour and be a “proper part of our party”.
An interim report on the changes is expected by the annual Labour Party conference later this year.
Roughly half those attending the conference will be union members so his plan is not a done deal.
But so far union leaders have bounced between outraged rhetoric at Miliband’s plans and conciliatory noises.
There should be a debate on how unions spend their money—but that should not mean bowing to the Labour leadership.
The special conference was a device used by Tony Blair when he wanted Labour to agree to his plans to drop Clause Four from Labour’s constitution.
Meanwhile a poll conducted by Lord Ashcroft, former Tory treasurer, suggested 12 percent of members of the Unite union would join Labour as individual members.