Socialist Worker

Keir Starmer woos union tops

Issue No. 2758

Keir Starmer is trying to get union leaders on side

Keir Starmer is trying to get union leaders on side


Union conference season is in full swing, so Labour leader Keir Starmer is schmoozing the bureaucrats.

He tried to woo delegates at the GMB union’s conference with some eye-catching promises in his speech there on Monday.

These included outlawing “fire and rehire” and repealing some anti-trade union laws.

Starmer’s real audience wasn’t GMB’s ordinary union members and activists. He’s speaking over their heads to their leaders.

Some union bureaucrats backed Labour’s previous leader, the left wing Jeremy Corbyn, because they thought his Labour government would help them. It also meant they didn’t have to lead struggle.

Government

Now some of them are swinging behind Starmer and the right, but they want something in return. And they still don’t want to lead any struggle.

So Starmer has found two issues close to their hearts—union laws and fire and rehire—and told them he’ll sort it all out once in government. All they have to do is support him—by not leading any struggle.

The trouble is union leaders have been doing this since Ed Milliband became Labour leader over a decade ago. And even if Labour gets in, Starmer also has to make good on his promises to “help” British bosses. Who do you think he’ll side with?

We can't let union leaders tell us to wait for Labour anymore—it’s time we made them lead some struggle


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