Jeremy Corbyn takes 8-4 lead over Owen Smith with trade unions

Written by Sebastian Whale on 11 August 2016 in Diary

The Labour leader has now scored with Britain’s two biggest unions.

Britain’s second largest union has backed Jeremy Corbyn to remain leader of the Labour party.

Unison’s announcement marks the second major endorsement for the Labour leader in 24 hours.

It comes Britain’s biggest union, Unite, formally announced its support for Corbyn yesterday afternoon.

Other unions to back Corbyn include the Communication Workers Union, the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, Aslef, the FBU, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association and UCATT.

Corbyn’s rival Owen Smith meanwhile this week secured the backing of Britain’s third and fourth largest unions, GMB and Usdaw. Smith also has the support of the Community Union and Musicians’ Union.

However only GMB conducted a full ballot of its members.

Of the 14 Labour-affiliated unions, only the NUM and Betcu are yet to declare their positions.

The Unite verdict this week prompted disappointment from members including Labour MP Jess Phillips and Smith campaign operations chief John Lehal.

Unison’s decision today was borne out of an online consultation of members and “discussions at regional and national level”.

Some 58% of members were said to be in favour of Corbyn.  General secretary Dave Prentis said: “Jeremy Corbyn retains the backing of a majority of Unison’s Labour supporting members. That’s why the committee supported his nomination again.

“However, a significant minority backed Owen Smith. Their views will always be respected in our union – that’s our proud tradition.”

He also expressed concern about the level of abuse being exchanged between supporters of different sides.

“It’s healthy for people to hold alternative views on the future direction of the party. What’s toxic though is for abuse, threats and aggressive language to be considered acceptable – or the norm,” he said.

Echoing Theresa May’s famous soundbite, he added:  “Labour is in danger of becoming the new nasty party if this behaviour continues unchecked.”

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