UK Politics

Unison backs Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright PA

The second largest union, Unison, is backing Jeremy Corbyn over Owen Smith in Labour's leadership contest.

The incumbent leader already has the backing of the biggest union - Unite - and others including Aslef and the Communication Workers Union.

His challenger, Owen Smith, earlier won the backing of the GMB.

The leadership contest came about after Mr Corbyn lost a vote of no confidence by his MPs, and faced mass resignations from his top team.

Unison carried out a consultation with those members who had opted into the union's political fund linked to Labour, rather than a full ballot.

Its Labour Link Committee made the decision following the consultation and talks at a regional and national level.

'Incredible work'

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "Jeremy Corbyn retains the backing of a majority of Unison's Labour-supporting members. That's why the committee supported his nomination again.

"However, a significant minority backed Owen Smith. Their views will always be respected in our union - that's our proud tradition."

Mr Corbyn said he was "proud to have the support of Unison members", hailing their "incredible work" in keeping essential services running.

He added: "We need a Labour Party that gives them a voice."

'Union rights'

Of the 18,418 who responded, 58.1% backed Mr Corbyn, against 41.9% for Mr Smith.

Unite did not hold a members' ballot. The GMB balloted its members - 60% of those who took part backed the challenger, Mr Smith.

The GMB union represents workers on the UK's Trident nuclear weapons programme.

Other unions supporting Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn include the:

  • Train drivers' union Aslef
  • Communication Workers Union
  • Fire Brigades Union
  • Transport Salaried Staffs' Association
  • construction workers' union UCATT

He has also got the backing of the Prison Officers Association, which is not affiliated to Labour, with its executive saying it will encourage members who may be in the party to vote for him.

General secretary Steve Gillan said: "Jeremy Corbyn has always supported this trade union over the years in the restoration of trade union rights".

Other backers for Mr Smith are shopworkers' union USDAW, the Community Union and Musicians' Union.