Politics for the Many cover

  • Statement from the Politics for the Many Campaign for immediate release, Friday 22nd October.
  • Contact Jon Narcross, [email protected] / 07794728820 for interviews or more information.

Unite members voted to oppose Westminster’s First Past the Post electoral system at their policy conference – pledging support for moves towards a new voting system in UK elections.
 
The vote, which sees Unite, Britain’s largest trade union, join three other Labour affiliated unions [1] in supporting electoral reform represents an important step forward in the campaign for fair votes.
 
The move comes just weeks after Labour Party members overwhelmingly supported a motion calling on the party to support proportional representation at the party’s Annual Conference, a motion that ultimately fell due to lack of support from the parties affiliated trade unions [2].
 
Nancy Platts, Coordinator of the Politics for the Many Campaign said:
 
“Trade unions have long been at the forefront of demands for a democracy that puts working people front and centre. And now our movement continues that fight for the modern-day. 
 
“Support for proportional representation is growing across the Labour movement as up and down the country working people see our broken system centralising control in the hands of a few as ordinary people pay the price.

“Unite is the UK’s largest trade union, representing over 1.3million workers – their vote today is an important shift that will amplify our calls for the reform our politics so urgently needs.”
 
Jane Spellar, Unite Yorkshire and Humber said:
 
“Speaking to ordinary rank and file Unite members we know that our political system is a barrier to the change we need for workers. When right-wing governments win large majorities due to the warping effects of our voting system it is the rights of workers that are often the first thing to go.
 
“For the interests of trade unionists and workers to be fairly represented in our politics we need a voting system that represents the views of all voters in our parliament. I’m proud to have stood with other Unite members and say enough is enough and the time for change is now.”
 
Paul Cooney, Unite Yorkshire and Humber said:
 
“Trade union’s play a huge role in the lives of workers across the country – standing with them in their workplaces and standing up for their interests to Westminster. It’s right that they should throw their voice behind calls for a fairer electoral system and an end to the winner takes all politics that has caused so many of the problems we see today.
 
“Unite’s support for electoral reform is an important one – adding the voices of workers across the country as we seek to build a campaign for change across the whole Labour movement in the weeks and months ahead.”
 
Willie Sullivan, Senior Director (Campaigns), Electoral Reform Society said:
 
“We will never address the issues that face us as a country if the system on which decisions are made is left unreformed. It’s clearer than ever that people feel Westminster is broken and urgently in need of change.
 
“We need an end to our broken First Past the Post voting system that has for too long meant that winner takes all mentality dominates our politics. We need a fair and proportional voting system to elect the commons and the lords and ensure that all voices across the country are fairly represented in parliament.
 
“The fact that the UK’s largest trade union has joined the growing opposition to Westminster’s broken voting system shows that the need for reform is growing and can no longer be ignored.”
 
ENDS
 
Notes to editors
 
[1] Aslef, the Musicians Union and the TSSA have policy in support of reform. For more information see: https://www.labourforanewdemocracy.org.uk/unions
 
[2] https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/80-of-clp-back-pr-but-motion-falls-at-labour-party-conference/

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