The "big four" union leaders told the Chancellor that he should not expect a "coronation" as Labour leader. Previously, he had attracted the public support of union leaders, whose organisations command a third of the votes in the electoral college selecting Mr Blair's successor.
However, at a series of working dinners, the main union players drew up a shopping list of issues on which they will be demanding compromises from the Chancellor. They plan to buttonhole Mr Brown before he makes his speech to the annual TUC conference in Brighton tomorrow.
The Government faces a wave of unrest from union leaders, with crippling industrial action threatened over public sector pensions and civil service job losses. The Labour leadership also faces an embarrassing row over union laws, with the giant Transport and General Workers' Union pressing ahead with a party conference attempt to reinstate secondary "solidarity action" in the wake of the Gate Gourmet dispute.Reuse content