Trade unions

Chaos under Corbyn

First published in Progress magazine

A year in decline under hard-left control

(more…)

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‘I want us to be a governing party’

First published in Progress magazine

‘No one wants to be called a “predator”’. Angela Eagle talks exclusively to Richard Angell and Adam Harrison

The office of the shadow secretary of state for business is no easy place to find. Hidden doors lead to long corridors and spiral staircases as if we have stepped into the magical castle made famous by the Harry Potter series. We find Angela Eagle in her eyrie at the top of a turret, her view a vantage point over the parliamentary estate; it is almost like Eagle is looking out for the party in the current precarious times.

If parliament is Hogwarts, then Eagle as shadow first secretary of state is Professor McGonagall to Jeremy Corbyn’s Dumbledore. The member of parliament for Wallasey is ‘looking forward’ to her ‘first bout with George Osborne’. The appointment means she will step up to do prime minister’s questions when the government puts up the chancellor. (more…)

Turnout tests

First published in Progress magazine

Is the notion that boosted turnout will turn Labour’s fortunes around simply outlandish? Richard Angell examines its chances

We had a problem of mobilising people’, said leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn – with little chance of getting on the ballot, let alone winning – as he explained why Labour lost when Progress sat down with him on 11 June 2015. A lot has changed since that interview, not least the reluctant nominee receiving a stonking 59 per cent of the first preference vote on 12 September. (more…)

The trade union bill – unnecessary, centralising, sectarian

Lots has changed this weekend. One that has not is the Tory government’s attempt to destroy Labour, and the movement with which we share a name, history and future.

And the first thing on the agenda as we emerge from a long leadership election is the trade union bill – the second reading is tonight.

And on this, this party is as one. The government’s proposals hit at the heart of our movement – attacking the very organising ability of trade unions, their rights to support political parties, and workers’ right to strike – the last resort protection of working Britain against unreasonable employers. (more…)

Progressives want to mend, not end, the link

First published on LabourList

Update: Unite’s Jennie Formby replies on LabourList

Last week, I – and 2,000 others – were followed by a new Twitter account, Break the Link. Using Progress branding, it claims to represent the views of members of the organisation of which I am the director. It purports to be for those who want to sever Labour’s relationship with the unions.

However, I suspect that Break the Link – which was last active at the time when Aslef and the GMB were attempting to ban Progress – is actually a false flag: a none-too-subtle attempt to detract from our analysis of how Labour comes back from its devastating election defeat by painting Progress as somehow anti-union. Perhaps those behind Break the Link were also the authors of the anonymous dossier about Progress, full of smears and inaccuracies, which somehow found itself in the hands of every CLP secretary and many councillors in early 2012? (more…)

Strong words, softly spoken

First published in Progress magazine

John Hannett is general secretary of Usdaw

Grown-up trade unionism delivers for workers, argues John Hannett in consersation with Richard Angell and Adam Harrison

As leader of one of the few trade unions increasing its membership, John Hannett is a man worth listening to. Usdaw has added 110,000 members to its ranks over the last decade, bucking the trend for union membership. This is all the more impressive for a union that represents members in shops, factories and warehouses that have struggled in the grip of recession – including those working in the 807 Woolworths stores that were forced to close in 2009. (more…)

Time for NEC reform to strengthen members’ and councillors’ voices

First published on Progressonline

The events of last weekend were historic and unifying. The changes will be meaningful and, let us hope, lasting. Giving 2.7 million trade unionists the chance to step closer to the party their forebears helped create is no small thing. And asking the nine million people who stayed loyal in 2010 when the party got the second-worst electoral thumping since 1918 should chart a new opportunity for the people’s party. All make it more likely we win the coming general election.

Missing from the reform package, and Refounding Labour before it, is the necessary changes to the committee that is now to implement the Collins proposals, the NEC. (more…)

Unions21 annual conference 2011

Chairing the session: Progressive unions - how do we make work place advances under a Tory government?

Chairing the session: Progressive unions – how do we make work place advances under a Tory government?

Progressive unions – how do we make work place advances under a Tory government?
Fringe at Unions 21 annual conference 2011

18 March 2011

Lord Tony Young, Shadow minister for business
Johanna Baxter, Labour NEC
Nita Clarke, director, IPA
Paul Moloney, Vice Chair Unions21
Chair: Richard Angell, deputy director, Progress


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Photo: Dan McCurry