Labour Party announces scrapping of “Union Join” membership scheme

4th July, 2013 5:26 pm

The Labour Party have just released the following statement, announcing that the “Union Join” scheme has been scrapped:

“We announced on 26th June that the General Secretary was going to review membership procedures.

“Ed Miliband is determined to uphold the integrity of Parliamentary selections and, therefore, as a result of that review we have several more measures to announce today. In the light of the activities of Unite in Falkirk we will end the ‘union join’ scheme.

“Union join was established before Ed Miliband became Leader of the Labour Party with the aim of legitimately encouraging ordinary members of trade unions to become members of the Labour Party.

“However, due to the results of Unite in Falkirk it has become open to abuse but also open to attacks from our opponents that damage Labour.

“In particular it was a mistake to have a scheme where others pay for people to join the party. Ed Miliband has today ended the scheme. Ordinary members of trade unions should join Labour and they will continue to be encouraged to do so, but that cannot be through schemes that can be tied to individual parliamentary selections or open to attack from our opponents.

“We have also suspended two members of the Labour Party from holding office or representing the Labour Party.

“They are: Karie Murphy and Stephen Deans who is the chair of Falkirk CLP.

“There have been allegations that they may have been involved in a breach of Labour Party rules. These relate to allegations concerning potential abuse of membership rules.

“The administrative suspension means that you cannot attend any party meetings and that they cannot be considered for selection as a candidate to represent the Labour Party at an election at any level.”

Update: A Labour Party spokesperson has confirmed to us that the Falkirk selection has been suspended, but stressed that the party would still seek to encourage trade unionists to join the party – just not in a way that could be linked to individual selections.

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  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    Well done Ed Miliband. For every union member who hates this, there are ten members of the general electorate who will see it as a sensible step. Labour probably looks more nationally attractive without the “boat anchor” of being supported by a handful of Luddite union leaders.

    (And for those who come with the argument “the unions founded Labour”, I say “so what?” That was the past. It is the future that is of greater importance.)

    Let unions do what they should be confined to doing: representing workers in workplace disputes. I would equally apply the same to the tories and the CBI: there should be no link at all there either.

    People should leave their politics behind their front doors when they go to work. It is grossly unprofessional to let politics intervene at work.

    • rekrab

      Before you go all wobbly at the knees, candidates from all parties have been signing up new members to boost their selection hopes for decades.
      The trade unions affiliated to labour have had a special arrangement in place for a long long time.
      I’m shocked and saddened by this action which now allows a one way ticket for party HQ to select at will?

      I’m reminded of a sale-man’s pitch to sell new nails to the constructions industry in Brazil.He made a video-pitch, depicting Jesus being nailed to the cross and finished with the head line, “All because of Murphy’s nails” of course it went down like a lead balloon and so will labour, only new labour could do such a thing when such a rotten government are in power.

      Where now for workers rights? do you think I’ll lie down and let this mob kick the sh*** out of me, your wrong because the higher you build your wall the taller my type will grow.

      • “the higher you build your wall the taller my type will grow.”

        Stay strong brother.

        • rekrab

          Snap Bro! on another thread.

        • crosland

          Yep, they are out there now in London on the streets like in Eygpt – duh no they aren’t are they ? So what’s wrong ?

        • Ann Wilson-Rawi

          Labi Siffre a gay man told his audience some years back at Brighton Lesbian and Gay Pride that he wrote that song for and about gay people and their (our) struggle for equality. I know cos I was there and heard him say it.

          Nothing to do with Trade Unions comrade. Get your own song. Oh you have. Its by the Flying Pickets.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        “…the higher you build your wall the taller my type will grow”

        That sounds like the sort of mindless nonsense spouted by the fifth rate demagogues in dreary American bars. The Kenny Rogers, indeed.

        It’s also not true, Derek, or have you not noticed reality over the last 5,000 years? Most people today could not give the “flying f**k” about unions, except to dislike them. And for all of the good that has ever been done by them (and there is a lot of that), an awful lot more good has been done despite of them, and now in the early 21st century, they look as relevant as the dinosaurs.

        • rekrab

          Nonsense! 7 million people count and do you really believe that employment without rights in the 21st century will bring better pay, better health& safety, no discrimination, if you do? your really as bright as a black out.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Oh, the nonsense. No one mentioned the things that you do, and in any case unions are not responsible on a global scale for those things for the vast majority of people.

            You seem quite parochial, thinking only of British matters. But if you want to think only of British matters, think of the welcome decline (to me) or sad decline (to you) of total numbers of union members since the second world war in the UK. Unions are completely irrelevant as a political force, and hopefully some of the more intelligent members of Ed Miliband’s circle will realise that.

            Unions are relevant, and indeed important in the workplace. I never said that they are not.

          • crosland

            They had unions defered to the state in the former communist run states of the Soviet Union and Europe and we all know how ineffective they were.
            I don’t agree with a lot of Len McCluskey’s statements or alleged statements, but he was elected by ballot to press his members interests. How he does it however doesn’t include assuming that union funds buy the labour party. That equally applies to wealthy individual donors to the party.
            Most members of the labour party do what they do because of what they believe in and even if funding was withdrawn by any union we won’t pack our bags and go home – we will continue fighting and nuts to anyone who thinks different, however harder it might be. That includes union leaders. think tanks, etc.

          • Redshift1

            Erm, unions helped win most rights for people in most of Europe, Australia, Canada, the US, etc.

            In South Africa, COSATU are considered part of the ‘trinity’ that ended apartheid and retain a formal link to the ANC today.

            The argument his comment is somehow anglo-centric is patently ludicrous. More like your own argument is bullshit-centric.

            As for this quote:-
            “For every “endorsement” by some unreconstructed leftist like the McCluskey, how many normal people think “well there’s no way I’m voting Labour”? 2? 5? 10?”

            Erm, well given 1.5 million people are members of Unite, I’d say he’s probably going to influence more than that.

            “Unions are relevant, and indeed important in the workplace. I never said that they are not.”

            Your last comment actually appeared to when you asked when was the last time a strike made one iota of difference in the UK. Well, they’ve stopped people losing jobs, they’ve won pay rises, established formal collective bargaining and a hell of a lot more.

        • LeftOfLeft

          This graph shows that having trade unions = a fairer society.

        • crosland

          No, just some of their leadership and direction I think. Unions are as essential as ever.

      • crosland

        Strange though that union membership hasn’t exactly taken off in recent years – nor during the 80’s and 90’s ? To much mergers and yap instead of organising. perhaps ?

        • rekrab

          As it’s Wimbeldon weeks<" you can't be serious man" a Mac attack? Look, union numbers fell because there was a political ideology too do so, Britain's Industrial power was broken down closed and union recognise was demised.18 years of hurt wasn't recoiled by 13 years of new labour.

          I don't know why the Armed forces aren't allowed to join a trade union and no job should be without a closed shop.

          • crosland

            So 13 years of funding from a ‘new’ labour govt to assist organisations like unions and legislation overturning tory policies and introducing worker friendly policies, wasn’t enough to help unions build membership and organisation ? Are you serious ?
            More like 13 years of some people in well paid union jobs sitting on their backsides perhaps ?

          • rekrab

            Jeez! parliament is where the laws of the land are made, new labour didn’t reverse one single anti trade union law that the tories abolished? If trade unions could pass law then that would be sweet! LoL!

          • crosland

            Obviously unions do not introduce legislation.
            However according to you I must be mistaken about the previous three labour govts.
            I understood Labour reversed the ban on trades unions at GCHQ – maybe it was someone else ?
            Then there was also perhaps those small matters of concern to working people and unions of; the minimum wage; the opt out of the social chapter; the minimum wage; the employment relations legislation, etc.
            Perhaps you live somewhere else ?

          • rekrab

            Crosland, honestly mate I’m not trying to incite any formal quarrel with you. your hearts in the right place and your burn is strong.
            I’ll answer your questions in the same honest manner.

            1/GCHQ? if you mean the right to join a trade union with over 50% of the workforces commitment as attached to the social chapter requirements I can tell you it did work for Motorola Bathgate ? BskyB Livingston are various other employment places.

            2/Minimum wage? it was set so low at the offset that entire cities like Glasgow introduced a living wage some years back.

            3/The social chapter? a bit of a red herring, where there is trade union agreements in British Industry, they often surpass the requirements of the social chapter and like I’ve said above, it not full proof? can you tell me the last employment law introduced in Britain?

            3/ Employment relations are only as good as the management make them? relation didn’t help keep ford transit-vans in operation in Southhampton? nor Vion foods in Broxburn.

            Nah, I’m real mate and I’d like you to know that realism is worth more than falsehood and misleading. I hope we can find a common ground place there.

          • Redshift1

            To be fair they did change the law to make trade union representation in grievance and disciplinary meetings a statutory right and they did change it so employers would be forced to recognise unions if over 50% of employees became members or said they wanted the union to negotiate in a ballot.

            Admittedly, it didn’t bring back closed shop, or even agency shop. It didn’t allow secondary picketing. It didn’t end the ludicrous legal hurdles for strike ballots (which have more scrutiny that general election ballots).

            They should have done more about the anti-union legislation but actually I think failure to limit casualisation of employment had far more negative impact on making it difficult for unions to recruit.

          • rekrab

            Fair points Redshift however the statutory right to stage 1,2 and 3 as stipulated are obligation in employment law and failure to agree on them is a pertinent point at unfair dismissals, well,I should have said the later unfair dismissals.

            Although the 50% employees right to representation was there many companies still refused to implement it, I’ve gave some names further up thread.

            Yes! the important card of trade union links and position, tradesman or not is very important and something I’d like to see in place once again.

        • Redshift1

          This is the subject of many, many, many articles by unionists, by academics and more.

          The initial decline since the 70s is clearly mostly related to the decline in heavily organised industries (which was the result of a range of factors) with high union membership density and the end of the closed shop.

          The failure to recover is a mixture of having the most restrictive trade union laws in Western Europe (Labour made very, very modest changes), a failure to get out of the comfort zone of officials rather than organisers amongst unions and fundamental changes to the labour market that makes it more difficult to organise that you might sum up as casualisation of labour.

          ‘Too much mergers and yap’ I’m afraid doesn’t come close to giving the subject serious consideration.

          I think New Labour could have changed things to make it a lot easier for the unions to recover – primarily in my mind actually through limiting some of the more excessive elements of casualisation, although clearly changing trade union laws more would have helped too.

          That said, I think some unions more than others were very slow to pick up on strategic changes they needed to make to better organise.

          Worth mentioning by the way that Unite grew by around 50,000 members this year.

    • AsterMonophthalmus

      “People should leave their politics behind their front doors when they go to work. It is grossly unprofessional to let politics intervene at work.”

      That is a profoundly stupid thing to say. ‘Work’ and politics often coincide – if the trade union movement in the first half of the 20th century had followed your advice, we wouldn’t have sick days, maternity leave, weekends, 9-5 days etc. etc.

    • crosland

      I disagree. The link with unions ensures we keep in touch as a party with working people. Your third para is naieve in the extreme. The CBI does not fund the tory party – shadowey organisations arise like the midlands industrial council and of course individual millionaires.
      What differences we have in what most term ‘the labour movement’ can easily be resolved by anyone abusing rules and processes, but it would help if some prima donna’s didn’t feel the need to beat their proverbial chests in the national media instead of just picking up a phone, etc ?

    • Redshift1

      As per usual, a daft comment.

      a) Most Labour Party members and members of affiliated unions didn’t even realise this scheme existed.
      b) You can still sign up members of affiliated unions at a reduced rate – and rightly so since they already pay the party through the political levy.
      c) Most union members shouldn’t hate this unless they have misinterpreted what has changed.
      d) This has hardly changed the Labour Party-Trade Union link at all on paper. Maybe a bit of bad blood, but that’s it.
      e) The idea that unions should be restricted to the workplace is ridiculously unfair. Unions are democratic organisations that have collectively taken a decision to back the party and that individual union members can opt-out of. Compared to companies that donate to (primarily the Tories) parties with very, very little accountability, it is actually a very thorough and transparent process.

  • Pete

    A very sensible and forward-thinking move on Ed Miliband’s part. A scheme whereby an organisation could pay for people to join the party was always going to be vulnerable to abuse and manipulation, if not by organisations themselves, then by unscrupulous elements within them. It should not have been introduced in the first place and ending it is the right thing to do.

    • rekrab

      You Reckon Pete with the big feet? I envisage hundreds of thousands of unite, unison, and GMB members building that pyre of fire with their now closed down membership.

      Don’t you think you should at least explain why you thinks it’s a sensible move?
      Given that the now leader did depend on the bloc-vote for his job?

      • Pete

        I have explained why I think it is a sensible move: such a system is far too vulnerable to abuse. It is reasonable to offer a discount to members of affiliated unions out of recognition of the fact that a share of their union membership fee all ready goes to the party. It is not reasonable to let union officials pay for their members to join the party en-masse; it makes it far too easy for situations like the one in Falkirk to arise. Furthermore, anyone joining the party should be doing so because they want to offer some measure of support to it as an individual, whether that’s through their membership fee alone or through activity as well, just like the rest of us.

        • rekrab

          Jeez! such blinkers, so anyone becoming a new member in your books isn’t doing it for the greater good of the party? such is biased thoughts!

          We know for sure the progress candidate recruited and paid for new members memberships? no special clampdown there?

          So when the tories or any other political party parachute someone like Sir Malcolm Leslie Rifkind into a constituency that’s fine in your books? Rifkind was an Edinburgh MP under Thatcher’s government but like the flick of a switch he’s installed some 500 miles or more away into another spot?

          So as from today, Len McCluskey, Dave Prentice, Paul Kenny and thousands of others are effectively thrown out of the labour party, I joined the labour party through my trade union arrangement and I campaigned at all local and general elections, posting leaflets chapping doors and asking the people for their vote for a better deal and you now suggest that I’m some sort of reject castout pauper from a party my fathers and forefathers build with blood sweat and tears.

          There was a time I’d walk a thousand miles for a vote for labour after this and years of abuse from your type, I’m seriously considering walking no more.

          • Pete

            Rekrab, I would like to invite you to re-read my comment, because I don’t think you understood anything I said.

            I have just made it clear that I think it is entirely reasonable to offer a concessionary rate to members of affiliate unions because they all ready pay towards the party through their union membership fees. As far as I am aware, though I’m not certain, that will still be the case, and I think it should be for that reason. On the point of Progress, it isn’t possible for Progress to pay for its members to join Labour – because every single member of Progress is all ready a party member. No-one is allowed to join Progress without first being a paying member of the Labour Party. I am a member of Labour, a trade union and of Progress all independently, and I pay for the privilege of being in each separately.

            My point is that a union like Unite cannot be allowed to sign-up members en masse and pay for their entire membership fees with a cheque from the union, which is what this change means. That’s not fair and it’s not right. If you want to join the party, then it has to be a personal commitment on your part – as is the case with the overwhelming majority of people who join Labour, whether they came from a trade union or not. No-one has suggested you are a “reject castout pauper”, and quite frankly I think you need to take some time to calm down.

            No-one is being kicked out of the party. You seem to be under the impression that Peter Mandelson will be coming to people’s houses in the dead of night to reclaim their membership cards. This change means unions can no longer cut a cheque to pay for people to JOIN the party without paying a penny themselves – no one is about to be kicked out of the party, and union members will still be encouraged and welcomed just as before. As far as I can tell, the union discount still stands and this change will only effect a small number of would-be new members.

            I’d also love to know what “my type” is, because as someone who grew up on northern council estates dependent on benefits and was surviving on jobseeker’s allowance for nearly a year until very recently, I was under the impression “my type” is the type of person that the union movement is supposedly desperately trying to get more of selected as Labour candidates right now.

          • rekrab

            I got to the first paragraph and laughed out load. You haven’t read my post? I said the progress candidate recruited labour party members and paid for their membership, I said nothing about joining progress?

            Look, the party was born out from the trade union movement, your obsessed with cheques and money, it’s a labour candidate and the values of labour, not some financial times big boss cuddling new labour fudge holder who have managed to oversee 50 years of solid labour voting eradicated in Scotland and other parts of the UK.

            Twinkle toed Mandy wants to go further and end the trade union affiliations completely, he hasn’t been short on that front but look again? Ed has said the the special arrangement for trade union members to join the party is being closed, in affect Ed is barring trade unions from the democratic process of the party.Why can’t you see that?

            If you’ve known hard times and understand the plight of political victims? why be opposed to union selections within the in-party? Thatcher was the green grocers daughter? didn’t stop her from becoming a right wing nutter who destroyed millions of life’s? did it?

            I’ve been reading quite a few of your recent posts and more often than not find no comfort nor common ground I ‘d share with you, why is that? you’ve made 19 posts and just about all of them conform and concur with the right wing of the party, so if you post like a tory and talk like a tory, well, don’t be surprised to be linked like a tory “type”

          • crosland

            Perhaps you could enlighten people with how you know progress paid for memberships, as obviously that is also putting this website in the frame for repeating something about an organisation that borders on libel ?

          • rekrab

            A member of progress and a perspective candidate for Falkirk paid to recruit labour party members to gain a greater vote share of the selection process. Source, it’s all over the Scottish media and rife through out Falkirk, Either Ed releases the full NEC report or the quagmire will grow and grow.Allegations can only be resolved by full evidence, lets see the report?

            Are you threatening me?

          • crosland

            If what you have just posted is true it can’t be libel so how is it a threat ? Personally I am sick of silly pratts more concerned with posturing and in-fighting than taking on our real enemies and those we purport to represent.

            I couldn’t give a flying fig about Progress or Unite.
            But as a supposedly experienced member of the party you are also alleging the party is now barring unions from the democratic process of the party ? That is clearly untrue but you are posting it isn’t.
            Do you also approve of wealthy individuals paying member subscriptions in local parties and that is okay then ? I question that as being bent quite frankly ? If councillors went around paying subs to ensure re-election that is okay in the rule book passed by conference is it ? If sitting MP’s did the same is it ok ? Then if Unions or other affiliates do so it’s okay as well then ?
            I don’t think so – but you apparently do ?

          • rekrab

            You seem to be going into a frenzy of libel possibilities?

            Look, labour has a serious problem in Scotland, the people of Falkirk and wider areas want a real labour candidate, not another placed Eric Joyce type.

            Here’s a little piece from a Scottish website, these are the allegations that are bellowing out.

            ” In a twist yesterday it was reported that senior Scottish Labour MP Jim Murphy is also linked to one of the Falkirk candidates who is also suspected of illegally recruiting party members in the Falkirk area. Gregory Poynton, whose wife is a member of Mr Murphy’s Shadow Defence team, is alleged to have paid the membership fees of several new recruits using a £130 personal cheque”

            Ed told us new labour was over and what was important was establishing and re-founding the labour party which was fair and representative of it’s voters.Clearly somethings went wrong and Ed has went from going on austerity protest marches to now supporting the austerity cuts and he has massively blundered by ending the trade union right to join the labour party and shape the course of it’s endeavours.

            I’m not enjoying this? it’s complete bollocks but it’s an issue that Ed has got us and himself tied to. So I’ll pass and go on your gagging order and stand firm in my belief that I have the right to an opinion.

          • crosland

            I think in that case local members should left to it, Are they so out of touch they need outside forces to determine the process ?
            Anyway I have things to do tomorrow so I’m signing off now.

          • Pete

            Rekrab, I read your post quite clearly. My point is that a candidate who belongs to Progress cannot do the same thing Unite did in Falkirk because Unite was signing-up its existing members en masse to Labour; all Progress members are all ready members of Labour. Anyone in Progress who recruits supporters from outside the party would have to do so on a personal basis, because there is no body of non-members like a union there to draw them from. Thus it is, fundamentally, a different issue.

            That being said, though I can only find one news source to back-up your claim (which thus makes me question the veracity of the news because I would expect it to be on LabourList at least), if it is true, than what Mr Poynton has done is absolutely wrong – it is morally dubious, it goes against the spirit of the contest and I’m quite sure it goes against party rules on how membership fees have to be paid. If such allegations are seriously being made, then they should be investigated just as those against Unite were, and if proven true, then appropriate action should be taken.

            Having said that, you’re never going to be able to stop people recruiting new members to support their candidacies – it just isn’t possible. I wish it was to make the contest fairer. If a candidate persuades a few of their mates to join the party, then we cannot stop that, as long as those people join the party as individuals or households and pay their own way. In the same way, we cannot stop a union candidate recruiting from their union branch, as long as those people join the party as individuals or households and pay their own way. What we can stop is the abuse of the membership system by organisations – whether they are on the left or the right of the party or neither – with a large pool of members to draw up on to unfairly manipulate our democratic processes.

            The formal and casual union links remain intact. The concessionary joining rate for union members is still intact (Chapter 2, Clause III, Paragraph 1, Sub-paragraph C of the rulebook requires it), and I firmly believe it should. Unions are still being encouraged to sign members up to the party who want to join. The union block vote remains intact at conference and leadership elections. Ed has done nothing like what you claim he has. For 99% of Labour and union members, nothing has changed, and no current member is going to be retroactively hurt by this change. Yes, you have the right to an opinion – but if your opinion is based on willful misrepresentations, or at least a poor understanding of the facts, then I have a right to call you out on that opinion.

            We are on the same side. Behaving as though we are enemies demeans us both.

          • rekrab

            ““Ed Miliband is determined to uphold the integrity of Parliamentary selections and, therefore, as a result of that review we have several more measures to announce today. In the light of the activities of Unite in Falkirk we will end the ‘union join’ scheme.”

            Sounds pretty much like an ending to me, or are you just ring fencing your imaginary wishes?

            If your speaking on an official line, then state that? your first paragraph is a mumble jumble back sliding effort, not worthy of your other wise postings.

          • Pete

            It is an ending to the “Union Join” scheme only – a scheme that was set up under Tony Blair’s leadership, I’m fairly sure, to allow unions to pay the entire membership fee of a member when they look to join the party. That is, the new member pays a resounding £0 when they join the party, because the trade union pays for their entire fee. For the vast majority of Labour history this scheme has not existed.

            All that has changed is that this will no longer be allowed. Everything else concerning Labour’s relationship with the unions remains unchanged. Members of affiliate organisations can still join the party and get close to 50% off their membership fee; that right is guaranteed by the party rulebook. If you are recruited by a member of your trade union branch or nearest CLP, you still pay just one-third of the normal fee for your first year (the “Join for £15” scheme).

            “Union Join” appears to have been a scheme that only a fraction of people recruited to the party joined under. A trade union member can still join for a much lower rate than a non-union member; that is a right promised by the rule book and no amendment to the rule book has been proposed.

          • rekrab

            6. Affiliations Fees

            A. Trade Unions

            i. Each affiliated trade union shall pay an

            affiliation fee per member of £3.00.

            ii. After consultation with affiliated

            organisations, the NEC will determine

            affiliation fees as and when necessary

            for Annual Conference to approve.

            iii. Of that affiliation fee,

            Are you making it up? it seems any future new members will now have to join through the branch means, Ed has clearly stated that the trade union membership scheme for labour party members has come to an end? I ask again are you making this up or are you here on official capacity?

          • Pete

            I am not making anything up and I’m not posting here in any kind of official capacity; I’m a regular party member using common sense and the rule book to understand the situation.

            What on Earth do affiliation fees have to do with anything? Ed hasn’t said anything about them or about branch recruitment or anything of the sort. He has said literally nothing about them. All he has said is that Union Join is over – Union Join seems to have been a scheme that says who can pay for someone to join the party, not whether or how someone can join the party. Affiliate membership remains completely unchanged. “Union Join” is about individual Labour Party membership; a member of a trade union is an affiliate member, NOT an individual member of the party. This change is about union members who decided they also want to be individual party members. They are completely separate things.

            Union Join has no standing in the rulebook as far as I can tell. The rulebook doesn’t mention it anywhere. Union Join appears to be an administrative rule that allows a trade union to pay your full membership fee on your behalf for your first year; you pay absolutely nothing to join the party under Union Join because your union foots the bill. The rulebook doesn’t mention this, but it does mention trade union members being allowed to join at a discounted rate – so they must be completely separate things. That, plus the fact Ed can’t just change the rulebook because he feels like it one day, means trade union members can still join the party EXACTLY the same as before, except they have to pay at least the discount rate of membership THEMSELVES.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    It shows no such thing. It shows a probable inverse correlation, at best, between trades union membership and wealth taxes. The mere existence of unions does not equal a fairer society.

    If you wish to measure “a fairer society” against union membership figures, the most accepted measure is the Gini Coe-efficient. Overlaying that, for the UK, shows a rise in income inequality in the UK of nearly an exact match to Trades Union membership levels, certainly from 1945 onwards. So, by merciless mathematical logic, it can reasonably be deduced that trades union membership, up or down, reflects inequalities in society, up or down.

    Or in short for the hard of thinking, if it is easier for you to understand, the unions are a total irrelevance to the measure of the UK as a fairer society. Not very good bedtime thinking for the union dinosaurs. They don’t make a “blind bit” of difference, as measured empirically, and by international bodies, against international standards.

    • Redshift1

      “So, by merciless mathematical logic, it can reasonably be deduced that trades union membership, up or down, reflects inequalities in society, up or down.”

      Without realising it, you’ve just agreed with him you cretin.

  • Siobhan O’Malley

    Miliband promised to bring the Labour Party closer to the trade unions during his leadership campaign. It seems he has now capitulated to the Progress anti-union brigade. This is a huge mistake.

    This is no time to start attacking our core vote. The Labour Party has been haemorrhaging support for a long time, especially over the Iraq war but also more recently due to its failure to oppose the government’s austerity policies.

    In CLPs up and down the country, the situation is dire. We do not have the organisational capacity to defeat the Tories in a lot of places where we need to win, and no amount of corporate donations funnelled through Progress’s bank accounts will be able to compensate for a team of dedicated, passionate activists putting Labour’s message across to the electorate.

    Reversing this scheme now sends a crystal clear message to our trade union brothers and sisters: “Don’t join, we don’t want you.”

    What a disgrace.

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