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GMB Conference 2024 Labour candidates ‘believe in nothing’, GMB conference told

LABOUR parliamentary candidates have no life experience and “believe in nothing,” GMB conference heard today.

Three Shires delegate Andy Newman made the comments as he moved a motion slamming Labour-run Colchester and Swindon councils for using “every unscrupulous, trade union-busting trick in the book.”

He said: “It can’t be soon enough to get rid of this [Tory] shambles, but why, as a Labour Party member, am I not more excited about the prospect of a landslide government?

“It’s for two reasons: one, our experience in the Southern Region with newly elected Labour councils where those councils have used every bully-boy tactic against our members and against the union, because they believe in nothing.”

Mr Newman said that he sits on Labour candidate selection committees and that after interviewing prospective candidates, “I have to say they are disappointing many of them: they’ve got no life experience, they don’t know anything if they have ever had an original idea it’s died of loneliness and they believe in nothing.”

“It’s a problem if the party doesn’t believe in anything,” he said.

“We absolutely have to hold the Labour Party, when it is elected, to account for actions not words.”

GMB executive member Gary Harris asked for the motion to be referred to broaden across local authorities, saying: “GMB is clear that any authority, let alone a Labour-run authority, should not be using union-busting processes.” 

GMB general secretary Gary Smith however told a fringe meeting that he was “hugely optimistic” going into the general election, saying there is a “quiet radicalism in the whole of Labour’s agenda.”

Appearing alongside him, shadow employment minister Justin Madders added that Amazon’s union-busting tactics belong in “prehistoric times.”

The retail giant has encouraged workers to scan a QR code which sends an electronic message to GMB asking the union to cancel their membership, the meeting heard.

Mr Madders said: “We are also going to get away from this gaming of the system: when the statutory rules came in, nobody knew what a QR code was.

“We’ve absolutely got to make sure that we’ve got modern rules that are fit for the 21st century, fit for the kind of tactics that we’ve heard of today, that frankly belong, not in the 20th century, not in the 19th century, they belong in prehistoric times.”

He said Britain is in a “low-growth, low-productivity cycle which has got insecurity baked into the system.”

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