Len McCluskey

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Len McCluskey (pictured) has expressed concern about the direction the Labour Party is taking

A meeting of the Unite union executive has decided to cut its affiliation money to the Labour Party by about 10%, BBC Newsnight understands.

Unite is the Labour Party’s single biggest donor, providing the party with millions in funding every year.

But there is anger in the union about Labour’s direction under Sir Keir Starmer with a source saying he and his inner team were “just not listening”.

The Labour Party has so far not commented on the decision.

  • Unite threatens to review donations to Labour
  • Labour pays damages to anti-Semitism whistleblowers

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, was a major ally of the former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and is a stalwart of the party’s Left.

Ahead of the meeting of Unite’s executive, he told Newsnight another cut in funding might happen if the party changed course too drastically under its new leader.

He said: “I have no doubt if things start to move in different directions and ordinary working people start saying, ‘well, I’m not sure what Labour stand for’, then my activists will ask me, ‘why are we giving so much money’?”

He went on to express dismay that Unite funds had been spent by Labour paying damages to whistle-blowers who contributed to a Panorama programme about Labour’s handling of the anti-Semitism crisis.

Mr McCluskey said his executive was angry about the decision “because they thought it was an absolute mistake and wrong to pay out huge sums of money to individuals who were suing the Labour Party based on the Panorama programme, when Labour’s own legal people were saying that they would lose that case if it went to court.

“So we shouldn’t have paid them anything.”

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(Bloomberg) — The global economy is entering the final quarter of its worst year in living memory in a precarious state with the coronavirus threatening to wreak yet more destruction on labor markets.


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The darkening outlook for U.S. employment, the impending halt to a U.K. furlough and the expiry of a moratorium on German insolvencies provide a glimpse of the trouble in store. The International Labour Organisation estimated recently that the world would lose working hours equivalent to 245 million full-time jobs in the last three months of 2020.

The quarter began with a portent as blue-chip employers from Walt Disney Co. to Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Continental AG announced tens of thousands of staff cuts within a 24-hour period. Then on Friday, the U.S. Labor Department revealed slowing job gains in September, with many Americans giving up on looking for work.

Adding to those omens, the U.K.’s main furlough program will end later this month, and a group representing the country’s events industry predicts more than 90,000 people will be made redundant in coming weeks.

Renewed clusters of infections underscore the vulnerability of already battered economies to further damage that could ultimately hit livelihoods. The latest outbreak in Paris may force bars and restaurants to close, while London is at a “tipping point,” according to a local health official.

What Bloomberg’s Economists Say…

“A second wave of infections, major corporate layoffs in the U.S. and the end of the furlough scheme in the U.K. flag the risk unemployment will rise into year-end. Bad news for the immediate outlook is also bad news for the medium term, with deeper labor market scars threatening to drag on the recovery — even after a Covid-19 vaccine is eventually found.”

–Tom Orlik, chief economist

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