Just a few weeks after Unite the Union decided to reduce it’s affiliation fees to the Labour Party, today the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union has issued a strongly worded statement putting into question the existence of the union link should Keir Starmer fail to heed its warning:
The political direction of the Labour Party in recent months and the promotion of MPs who worked tirelessly to ensure that the Party lost both the 2017 and 2019 elections has given members cause for concern. There is also a clear agenda to alienate any MP considered to be supportive of socialism and move them to the backbenches.
With regard to ‘Covid-19’, rather than oppose the government, Labour have backed them all the way and nodded through their ‘strategies’ and policies with only the illusion of a challenge, which often demanded more of the same or something worse. Whether it be PPE, lockdowns, the two-metre/one-metre ‘rule’, moving vulnerable, elderly people into care homes, extending the Coronavirus Act or opening and closing the economy based on weird and wonderful data, the Tories have enjoyed the full support of Keir Starmer’s Labour. This is despite the thousands of avoidable deaths, job losses and hardship that have arisen as a result of the government’s approach to this situation.
Further concerns have been raised in relation to Labour’s apparent support for landlords and their failure to stand up for tenants, along with their abstention from voting on matters such as the dangerous and downright disgusting ‘Spy Cops Bill’. With a handful of honourable exceptions, this was a betrayal of the Labour Movement, which begs the question: who exactly are Labour representing at the moment?
The leaked report, which exposed deliberate sabotage within the Party, the recently released reports by ECHR and a downplayed report which revealed one in four Muslims had suffered racism inside the Party (which is in breach of rules in regards to equality and opposing racism) have demonstrated that there is something rotten at the heart of Labour. If that wasn’t bad enough, the move by the leadership to both suspend and then overturn an executive decision relating to Jeremy Corbyn, was a disgraceful act that has only served to anger and disillusion a large number of party members and activists.
Sir Keir Starmer was supposedly elected as a unity candidate, yet his idea of ‘bringing people together’ seems to have amounted to nothing more than deliberate, vindictive and divisive attacks on those regarded as being on the ‘socialist’ side of the Party. Ironic, given the fact that Labour is supposed to be a socialist endeavour. Some might suggest that it’s repayment for the support received during his election campaign. Either way, further evidence also seems to show that the Party intends to end its financial relationship with Trade Unions and replace it with money from wealthy individuals and corporations, something which Tony Blair did during his time.
As a Union, we have been involved with representatives of the Labour Party across three centuries. Indeed, the first recorded meeting was with Keir Hardie in 1893, following a demonstration of journeymen in London. We also worked very closely with Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell in helping to shape Labour Party policy. However, despite the importance of Trade Unions and the inevitable current and post-Covid economic plight heading towards working people, today, we feel further away from having a political voice than ever. This being the case, the Executive felt at its recent meeting (ahead of any motions to Annual Conference to disaffiliate), that we should conduct a consultation with our membership. This will ensure that we are fully informed and mandated ahead of any decision to remain or leave the Labour Party.
The consultation will commence in January 2021.
Any decision to end the union’s historic relationship to the Labour Party will certainly not be taken lightly by the BFAWU, and it is not thought that the union is intending at this stage to throw its weight behind attempts to found a rival party such as TUSC.
Nevertheless, it is an indication of the level of disquiet amongst sections of the affiliated unions, as well a significant number of activists at the decisions to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey, deny the whip to Jeremy Corbyn and abstain on key pieces of legislation.
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