Angela Rayner has declared that a “landslide victory”, like the one achieved by the party in 1997, is possible if Labour listens to the trade union movement.
Labour’s deputy leader made the comments during an online TUC event this morning. She was joined by CWU general secretary Dave Ward and TUC head Frances O’Grady.
Rayner used the meeting to tell attendees that we must “rebuild” the trade union movement, saying: “A plant without roots dies pretty quickly, and we need to embed out roots again.”
She emphasised the importance of Labour working with the trade unions, adding: “If you look at pre-1997, it was people like Rodney Bickerstaffe who really pushed Tony Blair and others to make the right move on policies like the minimum wage.”
The deputy said that the 1997 “victory came because our movement came together and was listening to what people needed on the frontline”, and argued that another “landslide victory” is possible if the party listens to trade unions.
Rayner added: “If it wasn’t for the unions demanding and telling the Labour Party what it needed for its working-class and its members, then we wouldn’t have had that victory in 1997.”
The event today marked the beginning of Organise 2020, the TUC’s three-day festival hosting online panel discussions, workshops, and debates with speakers from across the movement.
It also saw the launch of the Organise 2020 pledge signed by trade union leaders to rebuild and grow the movement, make sure it is representative of all working people and ensure it can “win for working people”.
It commits to:
- “Increase the number of workers aged under 30 in our movement;
- “Enthuse thousands of activists from all backgrounds to train as new workplace reps;
- “Work co-operatively between unions to bring trade unionism into new and growing sectors;
- “Work jointly to eliminate insecure employment;
- “Modernise how unions operate, organise and communicate for a digital-first era; and
- “Drive up union membership levels where we already have recognition agreements.”
Trade union membership has risen for the third year in a row and increased by 200,000 members since 2017. There are now 6.4 million union members across the UK.
Events run during the Organise 2020 festival between July 9th and 11th are focused on how the movement can become bigger and more diverse, sharing best practice and successful stories.