Labour general secretary David Evans used an all-staff meeting today to unveil the new party structure that has emerged from the ‘Organise to Win’ process, which will see jobs disappear at a time when the party is looking to cut at least 90 employees.
LabourList sources say the party’s video, data, targeting and membership mobilisation teams in particular are being downsized, with the membership mobilisation team being scrapped completely amid the reorganisation.
“They’re trying to turn a tanker while cutting a third of the crew,” one party source told LabourList. “I’m starting to think they just want a smaller party. Because they don’t want something like what happened in 2015 to happen again,” said another source.
According to sources, the party used to call anyone who cancelled their membership, a retention tool that would lead to some ex-members rejoining, but this team was axed last year in a move that some staffers privately believe was factional.
In the meeting with Evans and Labour’s head of HR today, staffers were told that “the key driver of this process is to achieve substantial cost reduction and achieve substantial cost reduction now” but also that “we are not following a process of redundancy”.
The party is hoping to attract enough volunteers to its severance scheme that a compulsory redundancy process will not be necessary and the job cuts made necessary by the poor state of party finances can be implemented this summer.
Evans acknowledged that some Labour employees feel the burden is falling mostly on junior, rather than senior, staff. “That is certainly not the intention,” he said. “There are reductions at every level of the organisation. I accept there aren’t numerically as many at senior level.”
He pointed to a near-freeze on senior staff pay in recent years and told the meeting that he chose to take a “significantly” lower wage than his predecessors. He also revealed that newly hired senior staff in Keir Starmer’s office are on lower pay than their predecessors.
Labour’s general secretary confirmed that, while there may be adjustments made to the newly proposed structure after feedback, the reorganisation proposals are “firm” and the party intends to follow through on the plan set out today.
As reported by LabourList, the party informed a number of Labour staff members last week that their roles do not exist in the new structure determined by the Organise to Win process, which was launched by Evans over a year ago.
In a bid to attract more volunteers for redundancy, Labour agreed to the request of trade unions to improve the redundancy package by moving to four weeks’ pay for every year served rather than three and applying a minimum of £5,000.
“The package is as generous as it’s going to get, so I hope on that basis we will get the numbers,” Evans said during the question and answer session at the end of the all-staff meeting today.
In the presentation, Evans said Labour would be “voter-centric”, i.e. “serving the needs of voters first”, as opposed to engaging in “transactional behaviours”, i.e. “telling voters what they should think or do, or asking questions on our terms”.
The general secretary specified that this would involve developing “winning, voter-centric policies”. He also stressed that Labour needs to be “lean and agile”, which it will achieve using a ‘hub-and-spoke’ model to “meet the needs” of voters.
On the model, the presentation states: “This helps to aggregate and specialise core functions in the “hub”. The “spokes” – which cover the regions and nations – enable our vital citizen-facing activities to be delivered as close to voters as possible.”
It goes on to say Labour will work “collaboratively” in “multidisciplinary teams”, which will “adopt a product-mindset using agile ceremonies, be empowered to make decisions and encouraged to focus on rapid prototyping, deployment and iteration”.
The Labour Party was contacted for comment.