LABOUR LIST: Ray Collins Publishes Interim Reports On Labour’s Links With Trade Unions

Posted: October 31, 2013 by rainbowwarriorlizzie in Uncategorized

September 19, 2013 12:10 pm


An interim report into Labour’s relationship with the trade unions has been published today.   The report was written by Lord Collins, a Labour peer and trade unionist. It sets out the scope of Ray Collins’ investigation into Labour’s trade union links ahead of Labour Party Conference in Brighton next week.

The interim report will be discussed at Conference on Sunday. According to Ray Collins’ introduction,

“Ed wants to mend, not end, that relationship with the trade unions.”

However, the report does ask about banning certain activities during selections and there is talk, too, of a spending cap on promotion for those standing in Labour selections. Ray Collins writes:

“One of the principles that will continue to underpin the relationship is a collective engagement with our party, for trade unions. These are hugely important civil society institutions in their own right which, week in and week out, fight for working people.

They have a wealth of experience, knowledge, research and ideas based on their role in the workplace and communities. That is expressed collectively through their organisations and Labour benefits from that rich shared experience. We should not and will not lose that vital contribution. But for too long we have operated with structures which were laid down in a different era.”

In his interim report, Ray Collins stresses the importance of Labour’s roots within the trade union movement and took a pop at the Tories and Liberal Democrats:

“The Conservatives and the Liberals emerged out of elites inside Parliament, origins that still affect their outlook. Labour was formed by working men and women in trade unions and socialist societies outside of Westminster.”

He also confirms that Ed Miliband wants Labour’s selection of a London Mayoral candidate to be a primary:

“Ed has proposed that, for the next London Mayoral election, Labour will use a “primary” to select our candidate. Any Londoner should be eligible to vote in that selection provided they have registered as a supporter of the Labour Party at any time up to the ballot.”

Neither the party nor senior trade unionists have any desire to make Brighton a rolling row about party organisation when it needs to be about what Ed Miliband would do as Prime Minister. ”Policies, not rows”, is said to be the order of the day. Instead the rows – and there will be rows – will come between the end of conference and the “special conference” scheduled for March 1st 2014, at which the final outcome of the Collins Review must be voted on, and – for Ed Miliband’s sale – approved.

So today’s report from Ray Collins is not too controversial. Yet the timing of its release, three days before the Labour peer addresses party conference, means that party reform, organisation and disagreement – rather than policy commitments – may well be what dominates the media coverage around Labour conference between now and then.


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