UNISON backs Corbyn – comments from a member in the West Midlands

UNISON backs Corbyn – comments from a member in the West Midlands


Jeremy Corbyn addressing UNISON conference – photo by Paul Mattson

The following article was written by a UNISON member in the West Midlands following the union’s decision to support Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership. The comments were published in The Socialist newspaper several weeks ago. Although the ballot has now closed we are reproducing them here to further the debate within UNISON and the wider trade union movement on how Jeremy’s likely victory can be consolidated and the policies that we believe are needed to change society. There are also strong warning signs from some parts of UNISON who would rather see Jeremy defeated – and see the movement around him as a threat to their positions.

Many Unison members will be pleased that our union has officially backed Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader. Jeremy is the only candidate, as was the case with the leadership election in 2015, who is fully supportive of the trade union movement and who is in line with the union’s anti-austerity policies.

The immense support and enthusiasm that he receives from activists was witnessed at our annual conference in Brighton in June. When Jeremy spoke he got a huge standing ovation and was mobbed by supporters when he finished speaking – the fact that we have a Labour leader who is unashamedly pro-trade union is a big step forward!

However make no bones about it, there are plenty in our union who would have liked to have ‘done a GMB’ and supported Owen Smith. General secretary Dave Prentis made a statement on 12 August which talks of Labour becoming the ‘nasty party’ with many veiled attacks on the Corbyn campaign.

Prentis fears a Corbyn-type movement in UNISON that could transform our union from top to bottom. Unison members would do well to remember that Prentis and his bureaucracy spent hundreds of thousands of pounds witch-hunting Socialist Party members in UNISON in an unsuccessful attempt to ‘get the Trots’ – sound familiar to the Labour Party today?

The key issues for UNISON members are first of all ensuring a Corbyn victory but then making sure we properly finish the job – no more compromise with right-wing Labour councillors cutting our jobs or Labour MPs who are happy to take our union donations but don’t support union policies.

Importantly we need to discuss how exactly we can get the fairer society that Corbyn supports and many UNISON members want to see – Socialist Party supporters in UNISON believe that means breaking with the failed system of capitalism and introducing widespread public ownership of the banks and major industry.

Then we can truly put people before profit!

Unison member in the West Midlands

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Successful rally in Nuneaton in support of Jeremy Corbyn

Successful Nuneaton rally in support of Jeremy Corbyn

Showing support for Jeremy Corbyn

Showing support for Jeremy Corbyn

Supporters of the anti-austerity Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn rallied in Nuneaton town centre on Saturday morning to show support for his campaign to retain the leadership of the Labour Party.

The event, which was organised by Momentum Nuneaton and Red Labour North Warwickshire, was well attended and attracted the attention of shoppers who stopped to listen to the many excellent speakers.

Speaker after speaker drew applause in calling for support for Jeremy and highlighting the utter hypocrisy of those who seek to undermine his democratic mandate as leader of the party.  It was pointed out that the establishment are scared of Jeremy Corbyn due to the mass involvement of working class people. They fear that the movement being galvanised is a threat to their system. In our view, they are right to be worried – socialist ideas are coming back on to the agenda and are becoming more and more vital as the capitalist system means constant misery for the vast majority of people.

Paul Reilly spoke to the crowd and brought solidarity greetings from Nuneaton Socialist Party and the Nuneaton branch of the RMT trade union of which he is the branch secretary. He outlined how the Socialist Party supports Jeremy Corbyn and that the MPs opposing him are the same MPs who took the country in to the Iraq war, introduced university tuition fees and failed to oppose the Tory attacks on welfare. To applause he also reported how he had moved a motion at the recent RMT conference which was passed unanimously, to support Jeremy Corbyn.

Part of the Nuneaton branch of the Socialist Party

Part of the Nuneaton branch of the Socialist Party

This was an excellent event and the Socialist Party congratulates the organisers for putting it together. We look forward to discussing and working with all those who want to defend Jeremy Corbyn and to help advance the battle for socialist ideas.

Nuneaton Socialist Party are holding an open meeting – see details below. All welcome

Defend Corbyn – Fight the Blairites and Tories

Tuesday 26th July, 7pm, The Crown Inn, Nuneaton. FB event here