Unite Threatening to Bankrupt Labour

Labour is on the brink of their second financial crash in 20 years: its biggest donor, Unite the Union, is threatening to pull all its “remaining financial support” to the cash-strapped party over a pay dispute between Coventry Council and its bin lorry drivers. Having already reduced its affiliation fee by 10% back in October 2020, Unite is now promising all-out war unless Labour acts like “the party for workers” again. New General Secretary Sharon Graham has warned, “if we have to escalate, we will escalate” and called Sir Keir’s party “bad employers”. Dear General Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money…

Since Starmer became leader, Labour’s finances have nosedived thanks to – in the words of party General Secretary David Evans – “lost members and dealing with antisemitism cases”. Back in the summer, they had just enough cash for one month’s payroll. Even last week, a Labour spokesperson said they were being “open about the challenges [they] faced”. Challenges, in this case, meaning they’ve already passed mass redundancies and offered a real-terms pay cut to those who stayed…

Despite a Unison source pointing out to The Times last night, “Who are they going to ask to pay for May’s elections? Other unions are skint,” a Labour spokesperson boldly shot back:

“We’re not going to get into the specifics of this dispute. Keir Starmer’s Labour Party will always act in the public interest. These sort of threats won’t work in Keir Starmer’s Labour Party. We would have hoped that Unite would have got the message that the Labour Party is under new management.”

It’s not all bad for the Labour Party coffers, however. As Guido pointed out yesterday, the BBC’s supposed Tory donor who slammed Boris hasn’t actually donated to the Conservatives since 2020, and last year gave £25,000 to Sir Keir’s party. Surely they can tap him up to plug the multi-million funding hole…

mdi-timer 10 February 2022 @ 12:25 10 Feb 2022 @ 12:25 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Labour Staff Divided Over Pay Rise Settlement

Labour members of Unite have just rejected party bosses’ deal for a real-terms pay cut, voting in favour of strike action on an indicative ballot and demanding a meeting next week to re-negotiate. The cash-strapped party had offered workers a 2% pay rise next year – well below 5.1% inflation. All to fill a £3 million hole left by falling memberships, reduced union backing… and settling legal cases.

Speaking earlier this week ahead of the ballot, a Labour spokesperson said they’d been “open” about the party’s dire finances:

“We have been open about the challenges the party faces. Party staff have done great work to tackle these challenges and everyone is focused on ensuring we are ready to fight the next general election.”

They’ve done such great work they’re now being rewarded with real-terms pay cuts. Although GMB members actually voted in favour of the pay cut deal, Unite’s rejection prolongs the squabbling for at least another week. Apparently the party tried to soften the blow by claiming they’d make up the shortfall with ‘big donations’ – where or when those donations will actually come in is still anyone’s guess…

mdi-timer 28 January 2022 @ 16:11 28 Jan 2022 @ 16:11 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Starmer Could Face Doorstep Picket Line, New Unite Leader Promises to “Ramp Up” Protests Outside Bosses’ Homes

With the unions favouring strike action over Labour’s plan to lay off 90 employees, Sir Keir might now have to brace for a few unwanted visitors outside his North London home, as new Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham, elected last week, has promised to “ramp up” leverage tactics against company bosses in order to “defend jobs, fight cuts and protect pay”. We know what works and how to deliver pain to employersshe claims. Historically, this has involved inflating a 10-foot “Scabby Rat” in bosses’ front gardens…

Graham also boasted in her manifesto of “winning twelve Leverage campaigns and representing workers for over 20 years“, claiming:

“Now is the time for practical action – not empty political rhetoric or strongly worded press releases. If we are going to stop our members paying the price for COVID-19, we need urgent reform and to work differently both now and in the future.

Would be amusingly awkward for Starmer to cross a picket line outside his own home…

mdi-timer 2 September 2021 @ 15:32 2 Sep 2021 @ 15:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Anti-Starmer Trot Sharon Graham Wins Unite General Secretary Election

As per the rumours swirling yesterday afternoon, the anti-Starmer Trot Sharon Graham has won the Unite General Secretary election, on a platform to cut political ties with the party:

  • Sharon Graham: 46,696 (37.7%)
  • Steve Turner: 41,833 (33.8%)
  • Gerard Coyne: 35,334 (28.5%)

Starmer’s man Coyne – who wrote an op-ed for The Sun during the course of the campaign – came last. Last night Labour insiders were putting on a brave face over the prospect of the result – let’s see how long that lasts…

mdi-timer 25 August 2021 @ 12:08 25 Aug 2021 @ 12:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
McCluskey Threatened to Sue Newspapers for Defamation for Reporting Truth of Karie Affair

When the Daily Mail intended to follow up a Guido exclusive that Len McCluskey had shared a hotel room with Karie Murphy (Corbyn’s then-chief of staff), McCluskey’s consigliere and legal chief Howard Beckett immediately muscled in, insisting the story was “untrue, vexatious and malicious” and that “such allegations are open to legal action by the parties concerned”. In no uncertain terms, he threatened to sue any paper that printed the story: 

“Assertions to the contrary are nothing other than malicious in intent against the character of Mr McCluskey (and Ms Murphy). They are defamatory and if printed in the form suggested by your questions then will result in litigation. Additionally, it is our clear assertion that these pictures have been taken covertly by an individual with malicious intent, and the desire to seek to sell these to hostile media. We intend to identify this individual and/or the premises concerned and take appropriate action.

Except the story wasn’t untrue or defamatory: McCluskey and Murphy were in a relationship, and the photos reflected it. Now that McCluskey has a book to sell, he’s admitted to the whole thing, claiming “we wanted our relationship to be kept private, away from the public gaze”, and that they were very much more than just “close friends“. This is why Guido’s publisher is based offshore: it protects us from lying litigants…

See: Len and Seumas in Fyne Company at New Year Bash with Karie Murphy

mdi-timer 13 August 2021 @ 10:04 13 Aug 2021 @ 10:04 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Howard Beckett Pulls Out of Race for Next Unite General Secretary

Howard Beckett has pulled out of the race to be Unite’s next general secretary, according to Sky News. Matt Zarb-Cousin has been one of the first out of the blocks to commend the move, congratulated Beckett “for putting the movement first”.

Skwawkbox “thanks him for the hope he brought”. As if he is some sort of modern-day Nelson Mandela…

Beckett and Steve Turner have issued a joint statement, in which Beckett announces he will support Turner for Unite’s next general secretary:

“Howard Beckett has decided he will support Steve Turner as Unite’s next General Secretary. Both reconginse the vision and strengths of their respective campaigns and Steve Turner recognises the key manifesto commitments and energy generated by Howards campaign. They will both work to implement a blended manifesto, taking the best ideas from both candidates, when Steve Turner becomes General Secretary. Howard Beckett will campaign alongside Steve for the next two months to present a joint programme which includes greater support for workplace representatives, important new communications initiatives including Unite TV, upgraded education and training for members, an independent and progressive political voice, and a new structure for the union reflecting the diversity of our nations and regions.”

“Steve Turner warmly welcomes Howard Beckett’s support and appreciates his decision to stand aside. As General Secretary two of the most important people in his team will be Howard Beckett and Sharon Graham and the structures of Unite would reflect this.

On this basis we look forward to taking a united message of positive change to our members up and down Britain and Ireland over the next two months, building on Unite’s strengths while adding much more to what we can offer to working people. We are proud of our union, and look forward to shaping its future together.”

Guido sources say a deal will have been done to give Beckett a position that means McCluskey’s financial shenanigans will remain buried…

mdi-timer 18 June 2021 @ 10:54 18 Jun 2021 @ 10:54 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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