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Unison backs Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leadership

Published 11/08/2016

Unison is backing Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader
Unison is backing Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader

Unison is backing Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader, it has been announced.

The union's Labour Link Committee made the decision following discussions at regional and national level, and a consultation of members affiliated to the Labour Party.

General secretary Dave Prentis said: "Jeremy Corbyn retains the backing of a majority of Unison's Labour-supporting members. That's why the committee supported his nomination again.

"However, a significant minority backed Owen Smith. Their views will always be respected in our union - that's our proud tradition.

"It's healthy for people to hold alternative views on the future direction of the party. What's toxic though is for abuse, threats and aggressive language to be considered acceptable, or the norm.

"Labour is in danger of becoming the new 'nasty party' if this behaviour continues unchecked. There's no place in the party for witch hunts against MPs, councillors and party staff.

"The decent, hard-working people we represent don't want a party riven by in-fighting. They want a united opposition that stands up for public services which are facing intolerable pressures."

The Labour Link Committee represents Unison's affiliated levy payers.

A total of 20,190 members took part in an online consultation, with two questions asked: "Would you like the Labour Link committee to nominate a candidate in the forthcoming Labour Leadership election?" and "If the Unison Labour Link committee decides to nominate a candidate, do you have a preference on which candidate they should nominate?"

Mr Corbyn received 58% of votes cast and Mr Smith 42%.

Unison backed Mr Corbyn in last year's leadership election.

He is also being supported by Unite, the Communication Workers Union, and rail unions Aslef and the TSSA, while Mr Smith has won the backing of the GMB, the steelworkers' union Community, and the shopworkers' union Usdaw.

Mr Corbyn said: "I am proud to have the support of Unison members. Their incredible work, against the backdrop of cuts, privatisation and outsourcing of public services, keeps the services we all rely on running - from the NHS to local government.

"We need a Labour Party that gives them a voice - that halts and reverses the cuts, privatisation, and outsourcing that are ripping Britain's communities and services apart.

"The next Labour government will create a million new jobs and build a million new homes, and we will end the public sector pay cap overnight. In the NHS and across the public sector, we will push back against outsourcing and privatisation, and invest properly in staff and infrastructure.

"Our plan to rebuild and transform Britain so that no-one and nowhere is left behind will restore dignity, jobs and quality to our public services."

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