Unions target Labour leaders with manifesto of radical policies

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Indy Politics

The Prime Minister will come under fresh pressure from the left today as the Labour Party's biggest donors discuss a confidential agenda for a radical third term in government.

The Prime Minister will come under fresh pressure from the left today as the Labour Party's biggest donors discuss a confidential agenda for a radical third term in government.

Britain's four biggest unions have drawn up a draft document setting out policy priorities to "re-energise Labour's core support and connect with Labour voters in the heartlands.'' While some senior union leaders have registered their deep opposition to the "foolhardy'' support of the war in Iraq, the paper - marked "private and confidential'' - concentrates on a critique of Tony Blair's domestic policies.

The document will be discussed at a seminar bringing together New Labour's critics in the union movement - the vast majority of party affiliates which together provide the lion's share of party funds.

Entitled "Trade Union Agenda for Labour's Radical Third Term'' the paper calls for a dramatic change of direction over public services, pensions, manufacturing and union rights.

It acknowledges that public services need to offer more choice to voters, but a future Labour government should call a halt to the "costly policies of marketisation and privatisation'', especially the private finance initiative which has been implemented to fund all new hospitals.

The paper - compiled by the white collar and skilled workers union Amicus, the public service union Unison and the blue-collar unions GMB and the T&G - declares that such experiments have generally proved to be "costly failures''. While consumers needed choice, it should not be provided by introducing competitive systems which inevitably create incentives to cut standards, it says.

After today's meeting, to be attended by representatives of most union affiliates to the Labour Party, senior figures will go on to address a 200-strong meeting of the trade union group of MPs. Implicit in the flurry of activity by the union leaders is the threat that donations to the party's campaign in the expected general election next year could be affected by a refusal to amend New Labour policies.

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