Andrew Berry

The trade union link: Get serious!

Andrew Berry

RECENTLY WE HAVE SEEN some impressive victories for the left in elections in the Labour Party. However, the Labour Party is not just constituency party members - it is also the trade union link.

The trade unions have 50% of the vote at conference and will now have 13 members of the NEC to the CLPs’ nine. It would be a major tactical error for the left if we don’t also think about how we win positions within the affiliated trade unions.

I have just been successfully re-elected to the Unison Labour Link national committee for the London seat. However out of the eleven regional seats up for re-election only four were contested. Not all of the uncontested seats were taken by those who opposed Jeremy’s leadership in the past - but it is still an example of the failure of the left to take the trade union link seriously.

We must stand for national, regional and branch political committees and ultimately for trade union positions in the Party - for regional boards and for the trade union NEC seats. The Labour left in trade unions should organise across party structures - linking the industrial and political wings – and bring disputes like McDonald’s and at Picturehouse to the attention of Labour Party members via local activities.

If we do not make the union link a priority the left is unlikely to win key battles in the Party. Even if we win 70% to 80% of the vote at conference in the CLP section, we would still need one of the big unions to support us. We cannot treat the unions in the Party as a side issue. We need to get serious. If you are a union member in an affiliated trade union, get active!


Islington North CLP; Unison Labour Link national