Unite the Union

Unite the Union

September 22, 2007 19:01 ET

Crucial union member votes still up for grabs

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Sept. 21, 2007) -

Embargoed 00.01 Sunday 23rd September 2007

Unite members are much more likely to vote at the next election than the general public yet more than one third of the UK's largest union's members are undecided as to which way, a new survey on the eve of Labour Party Conference reveals.

The survey, conducted on behalf of Unite, shows that on key policy areas including affordable housing, pensions, job security and the NHS, Unite members' political hopes and aspirations mirrored those of the wider public. Unite says the government cannot afford to ignore either if Labour are to win the next election.

84% of Unite members compared to 77% of the general public say they are 'very likely' or 'likely' to vote. 79% of Unite members and the public said they will be most influenced by party policies.

Both the public and Unite members identified the NHS as the most important issue, with both groups of respondents seeing crime as the next important issue. Both groups also want more affordable housing, pension increases and pension security and job security to be prioritised. The joint second most important issue for Unite members is job security, while for the public it is education. Pensions were the third most important issue for Unite members.

Crucially, over one third (35%) of Unite members and 38% of the public have still to make up their minds about who they would vote for in the next election. While Unite members are more likely to vote Labour (38%) than the public (21%), 43% of Unite members polled still believe that Gordon Brown has to do better to demonstrate he is hearing their concerns.

Unite, which has two million members, says that the survey results demonstrate that the government needs to listen to trade union members views and concerns if it is to win the next election.

Derek Simpson, Joint General Secretary for Unite, said: "This survey shows very clearly that the Unite members want the same things as the general population and so if the government wants to be re-elected it needs to listen.

"Gordon Brown has enjoyed a strong start as Prime Minister but if he wants to continue to appeal both to the core Labour vote and to the wider electorate he should prioritise those policies our members have highlighted - action on the NHS, secure jobs and pensions and on affordable housing."

Tony Woodley, Joint General Secretary of Unite, said: "Labour cannot afford to overlook these important votes if it is to win the next election. Unite members and the public will expect vote-winning policies on their core priorities if they are to be persuaded by Gordon Brown."
Additional consumer research conducted on behalf of Unite revealed that its membership replicates almost exactly general consumer patterns and demographics.

Notes to editors

Thousands of Unite members are to march on the Labour party conference on Sunday to demand better job protection, equal rights for agency workers, more affordable housing and better public services.

Members of Unite will be congregating in Meyrick Park in Bournemouth from 1 pm on Sunday 23rd September.

Contact Information

  • Unite Press Office
    Catherine Bithell or Claire Ainsley
    07958 473 224 or 07976 832 169