GMB calls Labour 2024 manifesto ‘vision of hope’ but Unite says ‘not enough’

Britain’s largest trade unions have reacted to the Labour’s election manifesto, with many welcoming the party’s pledges around workers’ rights.

Labour’s long-awaited policy platform for the general election included plans to introduce legislation towards a New Deal for Working People within its first 100 days in office.

GMB General Secretary Gary Smith said: “Labour’s manifesto offers a vision of hope for the UK after 14 years of disasters.

“The New Deal for Working People is a once in a generation chance to completely transform the lives of working people.

READ MORE: Labour manifesto launch: Live updates, stream, reaction and analysis

“Equal pay, new collective bargaining structures for care workers and school support staff, trade union access and simplifying union recognition will be life-changing for GMB members. Now is the time to make sure Labour wins the election and the legislation is delivered.”

But Unite’s general secretary has called on Labour to “make government count”, following the union’s decision not to fully endorse the party’s election manifesto.

While Sharon Graham said “workers need Labour to win” in reaction to the manifesto launch, she suggested that Labour’s policy platform would not go far enough in fixing the country’s problems. 

“Our public services have been driven into the ground and are underfunded to the tune of tens of billions of pounds. Workers faced with plans to cut fossil fuels need new jobs to stop their livelihoods being lost. And we have an investment gap compared to our competitors that will require billions more to fill.

READ MORE: Key manifesto themes revealed as Starmer unveils policies

“We will have to start facing up to the truth. To fix Britain after years of Tory neglect is going to need more money and there are clear choices to be made. Whilst we all want growth and Labour’s proposed changes may move the dial somewhat – that alone is not likely to be enough. 

“Labour need to make government count. They can and need to make real change. The rise of the far right throughout the west should send alarm bells ringing in Westminster. People want to see tangible results and politicians must listen to workers and communities. 

“With rising geopolitical tensions, a cost of living crisis and rampant inequality, now is not the time to be timid. As we vote Labour – we also need them to be bold.”

It follow’s Labour’s manifesto launch this morning, in which the party’s policy platform for the general election was revealed to the public.

READ MORE: ‘Historic’ Labour Clause V meet endorses manifesto but Unite tensions resurface

Unite the Union declined to endorse the manifesto following last week’s Clause V meeting to sign off on the party’s election pledges.

The manifesto promises legislation within 100 days on the party’s flagship workers’ rights package, the New Deal, however.

But Matt Wrack, general secretary of another Labour affiliate, the Fire Brigades Union, said: “The Fire Brigades Union has fought hard for this manifesto to deliver for firefighters, by committing to national standards for the fire and rescue service and defending collective bargaining in our sector.

“Labour’s commitment to strengthening workers’ rights has the potential to improve the lives of millions. Reversing recent draconian anti-trade union laws will be a vital first step in undoing the damage of the last decade.

“It will be our duty to ensure that a new Labour government makes good on these promises within the first 100 days of taking power. We will hold Labour’s feet to the fire.”


Find out more through our wider 2024 Labour party manifesto coverage so far:

READ MORE: Labour manifesto launch: Live updates, reaction and analysis

READ MORE: Full manifesto costs breakdown – and how tax and borrowing fund it

READ MORE: The key manifesto policy priorities in brief

READ MORE: Labour vows to protect green belt despite housebuilding drive

READ MORE: Watch as Starmer heckled by protestor inside with ‘youth deserve better’ banner

READ MORE: GMB calls manifesto ‘vision of hope’ but Unite says ‘not enough’

READ MORE: Manifesto commits to Brexit and being ‘confident’ outside EU

READ MORE: Labour to legislate on New Deal for Working People within 100 days – key policies breakdown 

READ MORE: Labour to give 16-year-olds right to vote

READ MORE: Starmer says ‘manifesto for wealth creation’ will kickstart growth

READ MORE: Dodds: ‘Our manifesto is a fully funded vision, while Tories offer a Christmas tree of gimmicks’

READ MORE: IFS: Labour manifesto doesn’t raise enough cash to fund ‘genuine change’

READ MORE: ‘Labour’s manifesto is one the party can promote with confidence’

Read more of our 2024 general election coverage here.

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