UNISON reaction to Ed Miliband speech

Commenting on Labour leader Ed Miliband’s speech to the TUC Congress today, Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON, the UK’s largest union, said:

“When Ed spoke about the things that matter to people like jobs, zero hours contracts, poverty, austerity and building a fairer society – they listened. But lectures about the ‘challenge’ of changing the historic relationship between unions and the Labour party are a turn off. He talks about having the ‘courage to change’ but I was always told if something ain’t broke, why fix it?

“It was disappointing to hear him talk about sticking to strict spending limits. That makes no sense. He talked of people struggling but didn’t acknowledge that one remedy is a decent pay increase.

“It was disappointing, too, that he didn’t even mention the NHS and what he would do to protect and defend it. Nor did he give any firm commitments on affordable housing. Today it was the Tories who were talking about the NHS. While Labour is seen to be focussed on in-fighting with ordinary working trade unionists – the Tories must be rubbing their hands in glee.

“The Tories aren’t talking about how much money they get from their big business cronies and what influence they wield in the Party in return. That’s where the dirty money is, that’s where the secret donations are, that’s where company directors pay for influence with absolutely no vote from their stakeholders. Labour should be taking the fight to the Tories whose coalition government has ruined the life chances of so many.”