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Unite leader Len McCluskey won a standing ovation from Labour conference yesterday after he vowed to “keep the Corbyn flag flying.”
Mr McCluskey said he had not looked forward to a Labour government so much in 47 years as a party member.
Moving a motion on building an industrial strategy, he said Labour could “transform” Britain by “using the power of the public purse to back British industry through procurement policy” and “putting the ‘public’ back into the economy generally, starting with the services we all rely on — water, energy, transport.”
CWU leader Dave Ward said a commitment to public investment and ownership should start with a “publicly owned post bank.
“There’s been nearly a billion sucked out of Royal Mail in dividends since privatisation,” he stormed. “Thank God we’ve got a Labour Party committed to renationalisation.”
The communications union is expecting a big Yes vote to industrial action at Royal Mail over pensions on October 3.
“Labour is fighting for political change. The CWU is by its side fighting for industrial change,” he declared.
The challenges were fleshed out at an Institute for Employment Rights/Campaign for Trade Union Freedom fringe meeting later.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said Britain needed to prepare workers and communities for “technological change the likes of which we’ve never seen.”
“Only the secure take risks,” she said. “We want our industries to go that extra mile so that we can be a great Britain again, but we can only do that if people have a secure working environment.”
Professor Keith Ewing warned that the Tory government was seeking to pass the power to make laws from Parliament to the executive with its Brexit Bill, an authoritarian shift mirroring that under way in Donald Trump’s US and Emmanuel Macron’s France, where the president is altering labour law by decree and “reinventing powers that last existed in the Napoleonic era.”
He called for the election of a Labour government that would empower working people by “integrating trade unions into every workplace, every sector, every government department.
“So workers have a voice in every decision that affects them. We call that democracy — socialist democracy,” he said.
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