At our recent Annual Conference in June this year, BFAWU delegates debated the current and future state of the Labour Party. The unanimous position of the Conference floor, was that since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader in September 2015, the Labour Party now represented and supported the aspirations of our members, working in the food industry. They also felt that the Labour Party was now fully in tune with the issues they face in the workplace, unlike during Ed Miliband’s leadership, where members felt that the party was way too apathetic and nothing more than ‘Tory-lite’. Jeremy Corbyn’s support for our £10 an hour campaign and his pledge to end the use of zero hours contracts, along with addressing the issue of heat in the workplace resonates very strongly with the people we represent. In addition, BFAWU members and representatives feel that the Labour Party’s performance in local, mayoral and parliamentary by-elections, along with substantially increasing it’s membership, forcing a number of governmental u-turns and winning the argument right across the piece in terms of opposing austerity, shows that the Party is heading in the right direction. All the more remarkable, considering the state of the Party after the bruising general election results of May 2015 and subsequent crisis of confidence.
The upshot of our Conference debate, was that delegates agreed; if there was any challenge to Mr Corbyn’s leadership, our Union would continue to support the current, democratically elected incumbent and the progressive policies he has put forward, that we believe match the hopes and aspirations of our members, and those who work in the food industry as a whole.
The attempted coup by the Parliamentary Labour Party and the resulting leadership challenge, all cheered on by the establishment media is based on nothing other than delusions, egos and vanity. It is helping no-one. At a time when the now Theresa May-led Conservatives are positioning themselves further to the right than even David Cameron’s government was, for the Labour Party to be spending it’s time and it’s members’ money laying itself bare in public and demonstrating such a blatant and brazen affront to democracy, is as worrying as it is saddening. A victory for Owen Smith’s challenge would only be a pyrrhic one, that would guarantee precisely nothing in terms of a general election win for Labour, nor will it help to address the real-world issues our members face, day in and day out.
These are the reasons why the BFAWU calls on all our members, supporters and affiliates eligible to take part in the leadership election, to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. His track record speaks for itself.
Ian Hodson (BFAWU National President)