Unions love the G20 (is the party line)

The British press gave the G20 summit a pretty good press on their front pages last week, with words like ‘historic’, ‘hail’ and of course ‘trillion’. Avid readers of this blog will probably have also come across more sober analyses (like this one) dissecting what was agreed, questioning how firm the agreements really were and stripping away the money that had already been promised or given (most of it) from that $1.1 trillion headline figure.

No such reticence from the Trade Union and Labour Party Liaison Organisation, which acts as a conduit for political discussions between the party and its 15 affiliated unions and is based in an office inside Labour HQ. On their recently revamped Web 2.0-enabled website it gives the summit a jaunty high-five: “JOB DONE – now let’s get to work”.

“Gordon Brown’s $1.1 trillion G20 deal looks set to kickstart the worldwide economy,” it continues. No ambiguity about which world leader was responsible for what part of the deal then.

You’d expect TULO to support the Labour Party, and encourage its members to join and vote Labour – which it does; there’s a link to joining the party on its site. But supporting the Labour Government is another matter – just ask the CWU which is threatening to disaffiliate over Royal Mail part-privatisation.

And it’s hard to see anything on the website which diverges from the government line. In the news section, there’s a press release praising Labour MEPs and attacking Tory MEPs for their stance on anti-discrimination measures.

But interestingly, there’s no mention of how – that very same day – talks in the European Parliament on the Working Time Directive, which limits workers to a 48-hour working week, collapsed after Pat McFadden, Labour’s employment affairs minister, refused to budge. The UK’s opt-out is opposed by trade unions and not a few Labour MEPs.

TULO’s line will surely chime with what the more government-friendly union bosses say. Plenty of rank-and-file trade unionists won’t like it, such as Jon Rogers here. He raises the question of how such trumpeting advances the cause of unions fighting for their members’ rights, like those sacked Visteon workers.

This isn’t to say TULO is Gordon Brown’s plaything. It isn’t, and it does seek to lobby the government with union-friendly policies. But you may ask whether it should also appear to campaign on behalf of the same government.

P.S. The new TULO website is built by Blue Sky Digital, whose London bureau chief Matthew McGregor used to be TULO’s communications man (and Jon Cruddas’ assistant before that). BSD are also helping the CWU run their “Keep the Post Public” campaign against the government’s Royal Mail plans. McGregor himself is a loyal Unite T&G member. For now, the firm seems happy riding those two horses.

Hat-tip: Jon Rogers


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2 Responses to “Unions love the G20 (is the party line)”

  1. Ulysses Says:

    Shame on you for reporting on news when their is far more important tittle-tattle to be discussed.

    I heard that William Hague was in a sordid three-way with Bagpuss and Tinky-Winky. All three of them tarred and feathered and were blacked-up although this couldnt be seen as they were wearing gimp masks.

  2. Ulysses Says:


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