Thursday 8 February 2007

ASLEF: First Trade Union to Announce Who It Will Support for Labour Leader

Yesterday the first union affiliated to the Labour Party announced who it would be supporting in the Labour leadership election. The national executive of the rail drivers trade union, ASLEF, met and took the decision to support me.

This is a real honour for me and a great gain for our campaign. I am a member of the ASLEF Parliamentary group and have worked with the union on a wide range of issues and campaigns of direct concern to the union and its members both nationally and locally.

In recent years many New Labour leaders and ministers have appeared to be embarrassed by any association with the trade union movement and I am extremely concerned that there are some who will be seeking to use the Hayden Phillips inquiry recommendations, to be published later this month, in an attempt to break or undermine the link between trade unions and the Labour party.

I am also anxious about the proposals being promulgated by some Labour MPs and in the New Labour leadership to significantly reduce the role of unions in our policy making structures. They seem to forget that the trade unions founded our party and have been its mainstays ever since.

I welcome the support and active involvement of trade unionists in my campaign. The New Labour leadership seems to have forgotten who our friends really are.

Rest assured, I haven't.