Unite, the largest private and public sector union in Scotland, will recommend to its members that they support Neil Findlay MSP in the upcoming ballot for the leader of the Scottish Labour party.
The union’s recommendation came today (Wednesday) following detailed consultation with the members' representatives on Unite Scotland's political committee. Membership of that committee spans working and community Scotland, embracing, among others, the finance sector, the NHS, manufacturing and the voluntary and public services.
Announcing the union’s backing for Mr Findlay, the MSP for Lothian, Pat Rafferty leader of Unite in Scotland said:
"After consultation with our members' representatives, the clear outcome is that Unite's recommendation to our members is to back Neil Findlay MSP for leader of the Labour party in Scotland.
"Neil's impressive record of working for working people and their communities at Holyrood and in his role as shadow health minister won the day.
"In Neil we are confident that our members will find a leader who not only understands their concerns but will fight doggedly on their behalf. They can be assured that Neil is on their side.
"Our committee concluded that the positive programme for social justice on which Neil stands not only makes him the outstanding candidate but also offers the best hope for the renewal of the Labour party with the communities of Scotland.
"Furthermore, our members have told us very clearly that they want an MSP in the role of Labour leader, at the Scottish Parliament where the decisions affecting their lives are being taken.
"Ahead of the ballot, we will ensure Unite members are supported in their own decision making, and can be assured that their union will be seeking opportunities for them to question candidates at hustings meetings.
"I would urge all three candidates to attend the union hustings. These are an opportunity to connect with not just the people of our 165,000-strong union, but the hundreds of thousands of union members across Scotland."
A poll of Unite members conducted on 2 November revealed that by approximately four to one (78 percent to 22 percent) Unite members said that they wanted an MSP for the job.
The survey of over 5,000 Unite members across Scotland also found a continuing drift away from the party established by working people. 54 percent of those who voted Labour in the last general election say that they do not expect to do so again in 2015.
For further information, please contact Peter Welsh on 07810 157931 or Pauline Doyle on 07976 832 861.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.