Question 10: What role do you see within the party for Trade Unions and what type of relationship do you think the party should have with Unions on a local (branch) and national level?
Candidates for Leader
I'm a Green Rep for my branch in College. We need stronger relationships and common campaigning where our interests coincide (which is very often).
Good relationships with trade unions are essential to our future success. We should be making contact on every level, asking for donations, communicating and networking. A good leader will make this happen. An important aspect of the communication is to develop a more inclusive 'voice' to be quite sure our message is being understood
The trade union movement represents more people in Britain than all the members of political parties combined. Work has started in the trade union movement to engage with ideas about the future for jobs in a low / zero carbon economy. I have been involved in areas of this work for around six years - there is much to do and some unions are further ahead than others. Greens need to be involved with this large and organised body of workers as we can build the debate for a just transition and share our policy ideas in active discussions and plans for the future.
At a local level : I would like us to support and encourage our own GPEW members to become active participants in their unions and in the fight for workers rights - which of course include social and environmental issues relating to the changing nature of work.
Local Green Parties can also build up support in their areas by ensuring that they are actively engaged in all the campaigns that are affecting their communities. Greens must be the most reliable allies in these times of strife and hardship and with the urgent issue of climate change that can no longer be ignored.
We need to develop much closer ties with unions at all levels. I've worked in Camden with Unison on the London Living Wage, speaking recently at a traffic warden's rally, an invitation following a letter of support to the local paper. Despite our strong pro-union policies, we can't expect unions to just decide to back us (or offer us lots of cash). We should focus on what we can do to support the unions rather than what they can do for us. For example, Darren Johnson and Patrick Harvie won FBU backing after a long track record of on-the-ground work.
Candidates for Deputy
In Brighton and Hove we enjoy a great relationship with the unions thanks primarily to the work of some local councillors. We need to build that relationship further on a national scale until they are funding us regularly, month by month. Labour have left the unions behind, they should be turning to us naturally, but that hasn't happened yet. The new leadership team should be joining trade unionists and workers in their individual struggles against the Coalition and austerity. We have to gain credibility with the trade unions if we are serious about receiving their support.
I think there is an important role as we share many of the same ideals and priorities. Our policies should be speaking to Trade Unions in a way that Labour's no longer do. However we have to accept that the long relationship built up with Labour is not going to vanish, people are generally averse to change and so we need to build trust and understanding. This is of course already happening but we need to deepen the relationships at all levels with both dialogue and action.
We need to show working people, including Trade Unions at all levels that we are the party that can give them back some power to control their own lives. We must work closely with them and win their support.
No answer supplied