GMB and Unite trade unions representing Labour staff have confirmed today that they are both holding an indicative ballot of members working for the party over potential compulsory redundancies.
Both party-affiliated unions have declared that the “workers who give their all to the Labour Party” should not be “made to pay the price” for the reorganisation unveiled by general secretary David Evans on Tuesday.
Evans used an all-staff meeting on Tuesday morning to confirm that a new structure for Labour is being proposed that will see jobs disappear at a time when the party is looking to cut at least 90 employees.
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”.
It is understood that the party hopes to achieve the significant job cuts through voluntary redundancies alone, but it was acknowledged in the meeting yesterday that more volunteers would need to come forward.
The indicative ballot, which begins on Monday 23rd August and ends on August 31st, will ask union members whether they are willing to take strike action if compulsory redundancies are announced.
Unite regional officer Matt Smith said: “Labour staff have worked tirelessly for the party and should not be made to pay the price for this reorganisation.
“Unite will now carry out an indicative ballot of our members next week to see if they are willing to strike over any planned compulsory redundancies through this restructure.”
GMB organiser Vaughan West said: “Workers who give their all to the Labour party should not be made to pay the price for any reorganisation.
“GMB will ask members if they are willing to strike over compulsory redundancies. If the answer is yes, we will not hesitate to move to a formal strike ballot.”
GMB and Unite jointly responded with anger to party plans to cut at least 90 jobs in July, saying there was a “lack of communication and consultation”. They pressed for a better voluntary severance package.
LabourList understands that the party responded to the unions’ letter by improving the offer to staff, increasing it from three weeks’ pay for every year served to four weeks and applying a minimum of £5,000.
Labour’s general secretary has said party finances have suffered due to lost members and using funds to deal with antisemitism cases. He told staff in July that reserves were down to just one month’s payroll.