Union annual congress due to debate calls to disaffiliate from Labour, support ‘left alternative’ to the party.


GMB general secretary, Paul Kenny (pictured) is to call on the Labour Party to re-establish itself as the party for working people and distance itself from “the millionaires’ club” and “the dinner party brigade”.

He is due to present a report to the union’s annual conference in Brighton from the union executive which proposes a new political campaign, including the reinstatement of political education courses and re-establishment of regional political officers.

The GMB has already cut back the amount it gives Labour following outrage at a speech by shadow chancellor Ed Balls on support for the Coalition’s freeze on the pay of millions of public sector workers.

He will address the GMB’s congress, following a discussion on politics among activists, which will see calls to disaffiliate from Labour and withhold funds from MPs, and support any “left alternative” to the party.

The GMB gives Labour around £1.4 million a year in affiliation fees, but since Ed Balls’ comments last year, sources have revealed the union has cut back on more than £500,000 in other money it gives the party.

The executive wants to be addressed by Labour’s leader and deputy leader at least once a year, as part of a “new direction”, which includes reorganising its political structures.

“It is time to make ourselves heard above the chatter of the dinner party brigade,” says the report.

Paul Kenny said there were enough lawyers in Parliament, so it was time to encourage “ordinary members of the public” to stand as candidates to become councillors or MPs.

He said: “We have care workers who cannot get time off, or afford to travel, up against lawyers from London in selection campaigns, so we should be offering people like that financial support.

“We have to get people interested in politics so that our voice can be heard on issues like employment law and trade union rights. I don’t think we should pull out of the Labour Party at this stage, but what we are not going to do is compromise our core position on issues which affect us.”

GMB has released a report which lists the names of more than 220 workers who it says have been blacklisted by the construction and services giant, Carillion.

It coincides with with a visit to Congress by up to 150 Carillion workers (pictured, left) on their 20th day of strike action against allegations of racist bullying at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon.

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