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Statement by WP TU Group on the Unite the Union elections

The Workers Party of Britain trade union group, having received requests from its members for direction in the forthcoming election inside Unite the Union, over the position of General Secretary of that union, makes the following observations.

It is our opinion that each member of the Workers Party of Britain entitled to vote in the upcoming election, should cast their vote in accordance with their personal beliefs and conscience. No member of the Workers Party of Britain should be under any illusion in any candidate, whether of the ‘left’ or the ‘right’ who seeks to tie the trade union movement to the Labour party. British workers must fight for improvements in their pay, terms and conditions of employment free from any considerations for the political fortunes of the Labour party. 

For many, Howard Beckett represented a socialist option, but Beckett during the 2017 dispute between Unite binmen and Labour-controlled Birmingham city council negotiated away fifty rest days a year (more than six weeks’ worth of rest a year) and claimed a victory for unite. This deal, done when the total defeat of the Labour council was on the cards, was carried through so as to save face for Labour, to bring about industrial peace between striking workers and a Labour council that was at risk of being replaced by government commissioners. Such ‘victories’ are the epitome of the danger facing British trade unionists when their organisations are constantly in dread of the political ramifications of their actions for the Labour party.  As none of the candidates in the current election (to our knowledge) seeks to break the link with Labour and strike out purely with the interests of Unite members at heart, the Trade Union Group of the Workers Party of Britain makes no recommendation to our members, but appeals to them to carry into their trade union work the demand for an ending of financial, political and moral support to the Labour party, a party that is in service of the British capitalist class.