The independent London newspaper

Look at Unison’s backing for Sir Keir

23 January, 2020

Sir Keir Starmer

• AS recently-retired branch officials of Camden Unison, and constituents of Sir Keir Starmer, we feel support given to his Labour leadership bid by Unison nationally cannot pass without comment.

While we are sure that Sir Keir will be very pleased to have received the nomination of Britain’s largest trade union, with 1.3 million members, the fact that the decision was made by a small group of 20 people will not sit so comfortably.

Members of Unison can voluntarily pay into a political fund, the Labour Link, and those that do have an expectation that they will have their say on issues relating to Unison’s relationship with the Labour Party, including who to nominate in the current leadership election.

In fact the Labour Link website section says, “Unison is proud to be a member-led union. Democracy is central to our structure and our achievements have been reached as a democratic union where everyone has an equal voice”. Except not in this case it seems.

In the past two Labour leadership elections, Unison consulted widely with the union’s Labour Link payers, who responded by supporting Jeremy Corbyn. We would expect the same level of consultation for this leadership election.

Democracy is a cornerstone of trade union principles and therefore we urge Unison to carry out a ballot of Labour Link members as to which Labour leadership candidate to support.

Recently retired
Co-Chair Camden Unison

Recently retired Housing Convener Camden Unison


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