05 MAY 2010
A group of leading trade unionists in Brighton have announced that they are switching from Labour to support Caroline Lucas in her bid to become the country's first Green MP in Brighton Pavilion. The trade unionists, including reps from Unison, UCU, Unite and the NUJ say: "None of us are members of the Green Party. In the past, most of us have worked to get Labour candidates elected. Today, however, we believe that we have no choice but to oppose Labour in Brighton Pavilion.
"Labour's 13 years have given us the illegal war in Iraq, attacks on public services, the NHS, social welfare provision and pensions in order to pay for the bankers' crisis; an assault on civil liberties and no action against speculators or bankers bonuses.
"It has been 13 years that have brought us more privatisation of public services, more council homes sold off, and a stricter use of the anti-union laws than in the previous years of Tory rule.
"Over the last 30 years of Tory and Labour governments, we have had appalling financial and ecological disasters created by the crazy celebration of market greed and the erosion of the values of solidarity, sociability and planning. All three main parties also say that it is we who must make sacrifices to stop climate change, instead of creating green jobs in public transport, in building carbon-neutral social housing, providing effective home insulation, and in green energy production.
"None of us want to see a Tory Government. Voting Green in Brighton Pavilion will not let the Tories in. We believe that the election of Caroline Lucas will do more for working people and trade unionists than a Labour MP whipped into line to keep Brown in office, or who pretends a social conscience while in opposition.
"Caroline has an excellent record of standing alongside those who are resisting cuts in jobs, services and pay, as well as in opposing war, racism and climate change. Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats promise us more cuts in jobs and services, more attacks on pay and pensions, and ineffectual measures to deal with climate change. In Brighton Pavillion, we have a chance to elect an MP who will give a voice to all of us who aren't prepared to pay for their crisis."
Caroline Lucas said: "I'm naturally pleased and encouraged by this support from our local trade unionists. This is clearly a sign that Labour has betrayed its core supporters, and now the Green Party is recognised as the party of social justice and fairness."
The statement has been signed (in their personal capacity) by Dave Jones, rep for Brighton and Hove Unison; Andy Richards, chair of Brighton & Hove Unison; Tom Hickey, Chair of Brighton University UCU and NEC member; Steve Guy, Branch Committee member for Unite SE 397 branch (Gatwick Airport workers); Dave Fellows,East Sussex Unison steward, convenor for school support staff; Holly Smith, GMB steward, Hollingbury bin depot; Steve McLean, Senior Steward,Unison, Sussex community and mental health branch; David Chivers CWU youth committee South Downs; and Phil Mellows, Treasurer of Brighton NUJ.
In addition six trade unionists who are already Green Party members have pledged their support. These are Nigel Tart, Liz Wakefield, and Rob Jarrett, all of the NUT; Tammie Cook of the RCN; and Sven Rufus and Phelim MacCafferty of the GMB.