Labour members support repealing all anti-union laws 5-1

By Alexis Green

According to the latest polling by YouGov, Labour Party members support repealing all anti-trade union laws by a margin of 5-1.

67% are in favour of Labour making a commitment to “scrapping all laws that restrict the power of trade unions” — against 13% who want the party to oppose this. 16% say Labour should stay neutral. 3% don’t know.

Within those figures, 34% want the party to “strongly support” scrapping all anti-union laws, as against 6% who want Labour to “strongly oppose” the policy.

33% want Labour to support the policy but don’t see it as a “top priority”. We believe enabling workers and our trade unions to stand up for our rights, free from the Thatcherite restrictions, should certainly be among the labour movement’s top priorities – not least because it is essential to fighting for all the others. So there is further political education to be done. We need to turn agnostics, “don’t knows” and opponents into supporters too.

However, the figures on scrapping the anti-union laws already contrast favourably to many of the other issues on which YouGov polled members. On issues including nuclear disarmament, abolishing private schools, a four day week, free broadband for all and introducing open selections for MPs, a majority of the majorities who want Labour to support these policies do not see them as top priorities. Even supporters of compensating “WASPI women” over their pensions split 40-40.

Labour members seem more strongly in favour of making quick reductions in carbon emissions, taxing the rich, nationalising utilities, abolishing tuition fees, removing tax-breaks from private schools and a 20:1 pay ratio for all employers top priorities for the party. But those are widely-known policies the Labour leadership or much of it has publicly argued for.

Repealing all anti-union laws is something the Corbyn leadership largely avoided advocating, despite Corbyn and McDonnell’s strong records and clear conference policy.

Younger members (18-39 years old) favour Labour committing to scrap the anti-union laws 72-11, with only 3% strongly opposed.

The minority of members who are from social grades “C2DE” support the policy 73-10 (a striking 45% strongly in favour); “ABC1″s support it 66-14 (but only 31% strongly in favour). Support also varies by region, with the highest in the Midlands/Wales, 75-12.

The value of polling has its limits, to put it mildly – but we should be encouraged by the YouGov results, and build on them to win a clear campaigning commitment from the party.

• Full YouGov polling here (anti-union laws question on p6)

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