New Times,
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  1. Election 2024
6 February 2015

How Labour is making its trade union link stronger than ever

Allowing members of members of affiliated unions to become Affiliated Supporters will give them the chance to shape the party's future. 

By Jon Trickett

In recent times, a novel economic experiment has been inflicted on our country. It didn’t start in 2010 but it has become significantly worse since Mr. Cameron became Prime Minister. 

It’s clear that the Tory plan is failing. Salaries have stagnated and even declined, many high-skilled, well paid jobs have gone. For the first time in decades, the current generation of young people face the very real prospect of being worse off than their parents. Yet the Conservative Party, which 50 years ago claimed to be the party of families and working people, have shown their true colours as they have abandoned that majority in favour of protecting the people at the top. Tax cuts for millionaires and lower incomes for the millions. This is Tory Britain 2015.

Labour has a radically different view as to how we get out of the economic crisis. Ministers feel that if you make the rich even richer, then somehow their wealth will trickle down to the rest of us. This theory is wholly incorrect. Labour believes the only way to build a successful economy is to make sure that ordinary working families are successful. We will build a better country from the bottom up.

It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that a tiny number of Tory donors and supporters have come out of the woodwork in the media to support the Conservatives. They are using their power and money to try every tactic they can to maintain their broken system. A system that is not only unfair but also illogical – one founded on the belief that driving down wages so that people can’t afford the very things they produce or services they provide is the basis for a stable economy.

Whilst the voices of a handful of those who have benefited from the divided Britain have been heard this week in the media, the experiences and opinions of the hard-working millions also need to be heard. Office workers and builders, musicians and nurses, teachers and shop workers – these people need and, more importantly, deserve a Labour Party that stands up for them, a party that knows that they work hard, play by the rules and feel that the system is against them.

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We have already outlined many ways we will put their interests first. Our promises to get thousands of new homes built, to raise the minimum wage and to rein in the energy companies and banks, set out over the last three years, are just a  few of the ways we would tilt the scales away from the rich and powerful and towards families and workers across Britain.

To build a country and economy that works for working people, we need working people to make their voices heard and to join our campaign. They are already doing so in increasing numbers. We are the largest political party in Britain. But we want to be stronger so that we have members who are active in every neighbourhood and in all the workplaces across our country. Our links with the trade union movement already give us roots throughout the country.

But as we head in to what is going to be the fight of our lives on 7 May, we are making that link stronger. We are asking members of our affiliated unions to become Affiliated Supporters, giving them the opportunity to have their say in the future of the Labour Party. As the Labour movement, we have achieved great things together in the past, from the NHS to the minimum wage, and it is these very things that we are fighting to protect this election. We know that when we stand together, work together and campaign together we can achieve great things. 

It is now easier than ever before for trade unionists to join our campaign.  Please do so, and persuade any of your colleagues to do the same. 

Jon Trickett MP is Deputy Chair of the Labour Party


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