Trade Union Issues Second Strike Threat to Labour Party in Five Months
18:18 GMT 29.01.2022 (Updated: 15:18 GMT 28.05.2023)
An exodus of members following the departure of left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn, along with millions in compensation pay-outs to officials who plotted to oust him, has left the Labour Party struggling to pay its staff's wages.
Britain's biggest trade union has served notice of strike action on the Labour Party after staff voted to walk out over a below-inflation pay offer.
Members of the Labour-affiliated Unite the Union at the party's head office in Westminster voted on Friday to reject the two per cent rise — way below the latest 5.4 per cent Consumer Price Index rate as of December.
“Unite members rejected this well below-inflation pay offer in favour of strike action," Unite officer Matt Smith said. "The Labour Party has now requested a further meeting, which we have agreed to. We will report back any developments to members next week.”
Unite members working for the Labour Party vote for strike action over pay @unitetheunion @MattSmith71 https://t.co/s44LgRFX1q pic.twitter.com/dz2zxtttME— UnionNewsUK (@Union_NewsUK) January 29, 2022
But members of the GMB, another Labour affiliate, voted to accept the offer.
GMB members voted to accept the pay deal by 61.5 to 37.5 per cent— Eleni Courea (@EleniCourea) January 28, 2022
Labour's Unite branch will hold a meeting on February 4
It was the second time in less than five months that party workers had balloted for industrial action.
In September 2021, both Unite and GMB voted overwhelmingly to strike over plans by Labour General Secretary David Evans to make 90 of their colleagues redundant.
The lay-offs were part of cost-cutting measures to plug a gaping hole in the party's finances that had developed since new leader Sir Keir Starmer was elected in April 2020.
29 January 2022, 15:43 GMT
That cash squeeze was reportedly caused by an exodus of up to 150,000 members, reduced contributions from the dwindling number of Labour-supporting unions and a confirmed £2 million blown in one year in settling legal claims by staff accused in leaks of working to undermine suspended former leader Jeremy Corbyn.
But to add insult to injury, the party advertised at the same time for 30 to 50 "temporary investigation officers" on six-month contracts to find evidence against members for more expulsions of left-wingers.
Aaron Bastani, contributing editor for left-wing news site Novara Media, attacked Labour shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves' claim that the party's financial woes were "another inheritance from the former leadership" — and her enthusiasm for the departure of tens of thousands of left-wingers from the party.
Labour is offering its staff a real terms wage cut (something which is only bad when others do it apparently).— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) January 28, 2022
Today Labour staff who are Unite members voted for strike action in an indicative ballot.
Beneath it all is catastrophic mismanagement 👇🏽 https://t.co/qZM3mUkIKM
Bastani argued official Labour figures indicating annual membership payments had only fallen by £1.5 million were obviously false. Based on minimum dues rates, the figure had to be at least £4.2 million and was likely double that.
"It says volumes about our political culture, and media, that a politician actively celebrating the principal cause of financial ruin in her own party is viewed as serious on spending taxpayers money," Bastani charged.