THE Greens pose a “serious threat” to Labour’s historic reputation as the party for working people, top Green trade unionists said yesterday.
RMT president Peter Pinkney, who revealed he was standing for the Greens in Redcar last month, launched his election campaign for the constituency at the weekend.
And the Star can reveal the Greens will have a presence at TUC congress for the first time ever in September, when workers from across Britain meet in the party’s Brighton power base.
The latest bid to break Labour’s link with trade unions was announced at the Greens trade union group AGM yesterday.
Green trade union liason officer Romayne Phoenix predicted her party will receive a mixed reception.
“I think there might be a little bit of weariness but also a little bit of excitement to think that the Greens are coming in now,” she said.
“I think Labour will obviously see that as a serious threat and so they should.”
Mr Pinkney is the most senior trade union official to swing behind the Greens so far.
He joined after receiving a warm reception when he spoke about rail renationalisation at the Greens’ 2013 conference and is now standing for the party in the former industrial heart of Middlesbrough.
Speaking to the Star following his campaign launch, he said: “I don’t enter things if I don’t think I can win.
“The least I can win is the hearts and minds of people for the Greens and show them that the old Labour Party is gone.
“The big unions will always back the Labour Party but individual members might start thinking again.”
However Labour MP and chair of the Trade Union Group of MPs Ian Lavery hit back: “The simple reality is that trade unions are not only at the heart of Labour Party history but they are very much a part of our present and future.
“Labour MPs take up trade union issues day in and day out and this is why it is vital for trade unionists that we get a Labour government elected in May. It is the only way to put a stop to the Tories’ attacks on the trade union movement, to end the cost of living crisis and to tackle low pay and exploitation in the workplace.”