'Message of genuine hope'

Unite's Rob MacGregor urges the Labour Party to focus on keeping its commitments to working people

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Unite delegate Rob MacGregor moved a composite Monday (September 27), urging Labour to focus on ensuring workers don’t pay for the present crisis.

“Comrades, we stand on the brink of a social and industrial crisis,” he told conference.

“This is no act of nature or misfortune – but a calculated attack by rapacious employers working hand in glove with a Conservative government determined once again to make workers’ pay for a crisis,” he added.

“As furlough ends and hundreds of thousands are pushed into poverty, unemployment or both – we emerge from the worst of the pandemic not into Johnson’s promised ‘sunlit uplands’  – but into the winter ruins of more than ten years of Tory misrule,” MacGregor continued.

“The supply chain chaos currently freezing our industries and services is just the latest example of government mismanagement combined with corporate greed,” he went on to say.

MacGregor highlighted the scandal of empty supermarket shelves and a growing energy crisis that is “threatening fuel poverty for millions”.

“With inflation soaring and the crisis deepening, this government -supported by the bosses- are hell bent on suppressing wages, slashing benefits and making work less secure,” he noted.

“Against this backdrop- and against a government devoid of vision or values – it should be no struggle for Labour to say what we stand for,” MacGregor went on to say.

MacGregor told conference how he was proud to be part of a union that has renewed direction under the leadership of new Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.

“Unite stands confident in our purpose and resolute in our determination,” he said. “Our task is simple – to win for workers.”

“We make no apology that our focus is laser sharp on the things which matter most to our members and their families,” MacGregor added. “Fighting for their interests – industrially and socially – in the workplace and in our communities.”

MacGregor noted that the Labour Party’s “shared task is to deliver for the people who need us”.

“It is the duty of our party to fight and to win for them – and not only at the ballot box,” he said. “That means taking the fight to this Tory government now. It means exposing the cruelty of the Tory’s cuts to Universal Credit.”

“It means, as a trade union and labour movement standing together in the battle against fire and re-hire,” MacGregor continued. “It means having the courage of our convictions to say 3% is not enough for our NHS workers.

“These are the things that will rebuild trust with the people of this country,” he argued, as he called on Labour to hold firm to its commitments.

These commitments include, he said, delivering secure, high quality, unionised jobs, as well as delivering public ownership; intervention in the economy that supports all regions; and an “industrial strategy for collective prosperity and a fair green, sustainable future for all”.

“This is our party’s path to victory – not quietly waiting for an election on a Tory timetable,” he noted. “The task for Labour is to prove that our message is worth believing in and worth fighting for.

“That it is a message of genuine hope; a message which shows our people & communities that Labour cares and is on their side,” MacGregor concluded. “We must commit ourselves to answering the needs of the hour, to defending workers in struggle and to taking the fight to this rancid government.”

By Hajera Blagg

Pic by Mark Thomas

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