Unite, GMB Labour staff vote for strike action against compulsory redundancies

Sienna Rodgers

Labour staff represented by GMB and Unite trade unions have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action if the party decides to pursue any compulsory redundancies in its bid to save costs by cutting at least 90 staff.

78% of Labour staff Unite members on a 90% turnout and 76% of Labour staff GMB members on a 79% turnout have voted yes to strike action if there are compulsory redundancies.

22% of the members voted no in Unite, while 23% of GMB members voted no and 1% abstained, as first revealed online by former Jeremy Corbyn speechwriter Alex Nunns. The ballot ran from Monday 23rd August until today.

Update, September 1st, 10am: Unite regional officer Matt Smith said: “Labour will be meeting with Unite and the GMB this Friday (3 September) and both unions are hopeful that a way forward can be found that avoids any compulsory redundancies or resultant industrial action.”

10.40am: GMB organiser Vaughan West said: “Labour Party workers have shown the strength of their anger at this ballot result. We hope party bosses will now sit up, take notice and talk with unions so we can avoid compulsory redundancies.”

The two party-affiliated unions confirmed earlier this month that they would both be holding an indicative ballot of members working for the Labour Party over potential compulsory redundancies.

GMB and Unite jointly declared that the “workers who give their all to the Labour Party” should not be “made to pay the price” for the reorganisation unveiled in August by general secretary David Evans.

A Labour source suggested to LabourList today that there would be a picket line at party conference later this month if compulsory redundancies are not taken off the table by the party, which has not ruled out the measure so far.

In a Q&A document about the job cuts sent to Labour employees in July, the party did not exclude compulsory redundancies as a possibility. The paper stated: “We will only consider compulsory redundancy as a last resort.”

Staffers were told in mid-August that the “key driver” of the new structure was “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 – yet it was acknowledged in the all-staff meeting with David Evans that more volunteers would need to come forward.

The Labour Party has been contacted for comment. 

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