Union bosses have attacked Gordon Brown for failing to stand up for the poorest in society and have demanded a change of direction by Labour before the next election.
The party leadership had hoped the unions would back away from causing problems for the Government before the next general election, which must be held by June next year, with the Prime Minister meeting a group of union bosses last Friday to hear their concerns. But speaking ahead of the TUC conference, they criticised the Labour leader and urged him to dump unpopular policies.
Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison – which has already said it would withdraw funding from Labour parliamentary candidates it sees as failing to stand up for its members – said Labour had "not got its act together" in helping Britain's poorest. He added that it was failing to curb the large bonuses already returning to the City. "[Labour] has got to get back on the side of working people," he said. "We cannot allow the excesses of the bonus culture to continue while ordinary working people become the victims of this recession."
Mr Brown's attempts to label the Tories as the party of public services cuts were also attacked by Mark Serwotka, head of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS). He said both major parties were preparing for a "massive onslaught against the public sector" after the general election. "Our analysis of the next election is certainly not that it is about investment under Labour and cuts under anybody else," he said. "We believe that all parties want to make massive cuts in the public sector."