A coalition of students and workers
The stated mission of our trade union is to empower working people and create better communities. We know that one of the most effective ways to improve the lives of our members is to work to elect a Labour government. We are proud to be proactive supporters of the party and passionate about campaigning on the ground to win for Labour candidates.
We set up our Labour Campaign Network a couple of years ago, having seen thousands of our members who weren’t engaged with their party and thousands of Labour party members who weren’t engaged with a trade union. We wanted to bring the Labour party closer to our members, to build a better relationship between the industrial and political wings of our Labour movement.
In Labour Students we saw an organisation which shared our passion for campaigning and our desire to win for Labour. The Labour Campaign Network has allowed us to do more for the party than ever before. Bringing greater numbers of students and young people into our union has made us a more diverse and forward-facing organisation. Equally, bringing young people into the trade union movement is likely to see them grow up as lifelong union members. With more students than ever now working several jobs to put themselves through education, more often than not on a zero-hours contracts with little protection at work, introducing students to trade unions has never been more important.
Earlier this year, in the run-up to the city’s mayoral election, we brought members of our Labour Campaign Network from all over the country to Doncaster to kick out the English Democrat mayor. The number of people out campaigning was impressive, but what was more impressive was the make-up of that group. There were Labour Students from campuses across the UK, there were local members of the CLP, there were Doncaster politicians including Caroline Flint and there were members of our trade union from the plastic pipe factory nearby. The atmosphere of the day was electric. It was the trade union link at its best – a coalition of workers, students and party members campaigning together to win for Labour and create better communities.
Over the past year, our Labour Campaign Network partnership with Labour Students has seen thousands of hours spent on the Labour doorstep in every party of the UK. We’re winning for Labour and growing the trade union movement. Our partnership is based on shared values and a common purpose. We are immensely proud of the work we’ve done so far, but we know there is much more to do. By now, no one needs to be told that students and trade union members are under attack from this government, but we’ve got a coalition of our own, one which will work every day until the general election to kick this government out and bring Labour back to power.
John Paul McHugh is political director of the trade union Community. He tweets @1jpmchugh
campaigning, Caroline Flint, Community the union, Doncaster, English Democrats, Labour Students, Labour Students 2013