The union's biennial conference decided to deploy the TGWU's one million block votes against the policy. Opponents of the union block vote will point out that it could take a change of mind by only 10 TGWU delegates to swing Labour behind support for a momentous change in Britain's constitution.
Enthusiasts for electoral reform face opposition not only from the TGWU - the party's biggest affiliate - but also the GMB, the second biggest union which decided to oppose a new system earlier this year. Only the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union has supported PR.
Bill Morris, general secretary of the TGWU, who is a strong supporter of electoral reform, expressed his disappointment at the decision. He said PR would be fairer, but Dave Quayle, of the union's north- west region, said that under PR: 'We would never have another Labour government.'
The party's largest affiliate also resurrected a damaging row over employment law by calling for 'root and branch' repeal of all 'anti- union' legislation since 1979.
Referring to the TGWU's decision, a senior Labour Party source said: 'If they want to cut their own throats, that's up to them. We won't let them cut ours.'
The conference called for a positive framework of individual rights at work which allows for a law on strike ballots, but which sets out no restrictions on sympathy action.Reuse content