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GPTU responds to news that BFAWU will disaffiliate from the Labour Party

The Green Party Trade Union Group extended its solidarity to the Bakers’, Food & Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) as it took the momentous decision to disaffiliate from the Labour Party.

Chair of the Green Party Trade Union Group, Matthew Hull said:

“The decision by BFAWU delegates to disaffiliate from the Labour Party is a momentous one, and shows how far the party’s current leadership has gone to alienate working class supporters. This is a brave move by a union determined to put its members and the working class first.

“We also recognise how difficult this decision must have been for BFAWU members and officials who have given so much to the Labour Party over decades, only for the party to be taken in a direction they simply cannot support. We salute this decision to put independence and principle first, and we look forward to working with the BFAWU to advance their vital campaigns including the Right to Food, £15 and a union, and for climate justice.”

Billy Wassell, a young McDonald’s worker and BFAWU member said:

“Workers in the food industry have worked through the pandemic to feed the nation, but this past year so many of us have struggled to feed ourselves. Our union takes orders from no-one, and the Labour Party leadership has shown that it will not value our voices or fight our corner. As a McDonald’s worker, I feel especially betrayed by Keir Starmer, who stood with my colleagues on the picket line when he was seeking election but now seemingly doesn’t want to know us.

“Food workers are also highly exposed to the effects of the climate crisis, and building a just and sustainable food supply chain is critical to tackling the climate emergency. BFAWU has led on this issue for years, in 2017 proposing a successful TUC motion calling for a just transition to a renewable energy industry, energy democracy and recognition of environmental reps.

“As a Green member of BFAWU, I’m proud that my union and my party both recognise the scale of the ecological crisis. I hope that we can work together more in future to achieve our shared aims of ecological justice.”

The BFAWU was founded in 1847, and has been affiliated to the Labour Party for 119 years. The decision to disaffiliate comes amid growing anger at the direction taken by the Labour leadership under Keir Starmer, including a failure to offer clear political leadership. A survey of the BFAWU membership earlier in the year returned a majority for disaffiliation.

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