From the Chartists pushing for universal suffrage, to the Scottish TUC’s role campaigning for a Scottish Parliament, trade unions have often been at the forefront of demands for a better democracy that puts working people at the centre.
We write in the month that 100 years ago the Representation of the People Act was passed – extending the right to vote to many women and abolishing the requirement that men must hold property to vote.
Today, there is a new democratic frontier for trade unions in Britain: reforming Westminster’s creaking establishment. From a broken voting system, to an unelected House of Lords and denying 16 and 17 year olds the vote, Parliament is skewed towards a privileged few.
Trade unions exist for workers to stand up against concentrations of power and wealth. Today, our politics concentrates power to a handful of voters in wealthier swing seats, while throwing 22m votes in the electoral scrapheap. That’s a recipe for alienation and distrust.
Democracy is never a finished thing. We have to constantly struggle to remake democracy anew for each generation.
Today we are proud to launch Politics for the Many – the trade union campaign for political reform. If you are involved in a trade union, join us.
Nancy Platts – Politics for the Many Campaign Co-ordinator and former trade union advisor to Jeremy Corbyn
Mark Serwotka – General Secretary, PCS
Howard Beckett – Assistant General Secretary Unite (in a personal capacity)
Billy Hayes – Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform
Ian Hodson – President, BFAWU
Sam Tarry – Political Officer TSSA and President of CLASS Mike Kirby – Scottish Secretary, Unison