Trade Union Liaison Officer candidates

As voting opens for the Green Party of England and Wales’ (GPEW) internal elections, candidates for the position of Trade Union Liaison Officer explain why party members should vote for them to lead the party.

GPEW internal elections 2020 Trade Union Liaison Officer
GPEW internal elections 2020 Trade Union Liaison Officer
Green World
GPEW internal elections 2020 Kefentse Dennis

Kefentse Dennis

As your Trade Union Liaison Officer, I will do three things: work with trade unions and affiliation groups inside of the Green New Deal, strengthen cooperatives and their communities, and expand mutual aid schemes.

As your Trade Union Liaison Officer, I will do three things: work with trade unions and affiliation groups inside of the Green New Deal, strengthen cooperatives and their communities, and expand mutual aid schemes. 

Trade unions are very important, not only to the workers we would be representing, but it would legitimise us as a party with serious pedigree, and raise us out of the ‘small party’ category. Affiliating with like-minded organisations like green think tanks, feminist groups and community enterprises, for example, would push our green policies further into the consciousness of society, as the threat of climate change and further social injustices continue to threaten our world.

Within the first year, I will task myself with two agendas. First, I'll see where we've been, where we are and where we want to be with trade unions, affiliation groups and cooperatives. I want there to be strengthening of previous relationships as well as a renewed sense of networking within our own green ethos of organisations and gaining natural allies.  We need to be serious about growing as a party with a creditable status with Trade Union works.  

Secondly, I want to proactively show solidarity with trade unions, affiliation groups and cooperatives that are suffering at the hands of Covid-19 and continue this after the pandemic passes. 

I know that using the skills and experiences mentioned above will enhance my ability to be a member of the executive committee and as the Trade Union Liaison Officer I would bring a unique blend of natural talent as well as an ability to absorb and seek new information to transform the role.

GPEW internal elections 2020 Matthew Hull and Paul Valentine

Matthew Hull and Paul Valentine

Paul Valentine and Matthew Hull have the combined skills, experience, knowledge, and networks to do the hard work of reshaping the Green Party’s relationship with trade unions.

Grassroots worker organising is essential to achieving a radical, Green social transformation. We are standing as Trade Union Liaison Officer to transform the Green Party’s relationship with trade unions.

Our skills, experience, and extensive union networks equip us to hit the ground running and make good on these ambitions. 

Paul has been the Green Party’s Trade Union Liaison since 2018, and has already built lasting relationships with trade unionists across the country. He is chair of PCS union at London’s Southbank Centre, where he is fighting to save 365 jobs. He is a member of the governing council of Equity, the creatives’ union. Matthew is Young Greens Treasurer and works for a campaign organisation; he is also a workplace representative with Unite. Matthew has built working relationships with numerous unions, including United Voices of the World (UVW) and the Independent Workers’ Union (IWGB), in under-organised sectors like outsourced and ‘gig’ industries. 

Over our campaign, we have set out three clear priorities for our first 12 months:

  • To map out in detail existing trade union membership and activity in the party. The first step in any successful campaign is to understand existing networks and the power we have. This will identify strategic areas for development, and inform subsequent efforts.

  • To encourage and empower local parties to build lasting relationships with union locals and trade councils. We’ll build on Paul’s great work in this area, by developing a series of educational trainings and resources for all party officers. We want to keep seeing Greens at all levels on the front line defending workers.

  • To ensure that the Green Party’s political strategy has democratic worker organising at its very heart. We see this as vital to ensuring that ongoing questions of strategy and organisation do justice to our radical policies on workers rights.

GPEW internal elections 2020 Theo SImon

Theo Simon

Let’s build ground-level connections between Green parties and unions to defend us at work, strengthen local resilience, and become the political voice for a Just Transition in the workplace.

Under the shadow of the ecological and climate emergency, we’re emerging from a public health crisis into an economic crisis. Greens, like all other workers, will need our unions and professional bodies to defend us. They in turn need us to be their political voice for a Just Transition and a sustainable workplace. This is how we can transform our economy and build networks of real resilience in our communities.

I want to build that network of Green solidarity between our local Green Party branches, union members and organised workplaces. Within the next 12 months I would identify and increase union membership in the party, establishing local Trade Union Liaison Officers in every branch possible. These can connect party members and councillors locally to workplace issues and struggles, Trade Councils, and any relevant union campaigns. Green Party members at the grass-roots level can offer practical solidarity with workplace disputes and with workers resisting cuts or campaigning for basic union rights.

I have wide experience in the labour movement AND in environmental campaigning. Because of my experience across direct action campaigns, climate change and anti-nuclear movements, I understand how to build unity between different issues and interests. Because of my experience as an NHS shop-steward and an ally for striking miners, Liverpool Dockers, and the Vestas factory occupation, I understand how to build practical and effective solidarity.  

Unions want to organise around a call for workplace Environment Reps and for a Just Transition to redeploy skills and “build better”. At the same time, in the immediate future, workplace rights, wages and salaries will all be under attack, jobs will be lost, and the low-wage economy will grow. We need unions to be stronger and greener, and they need us to become the political voice of a Just Transition for working people.

Voting for the GPEW internal elections for leadership positions and the Green Party Executive (GPEx) will run until 31 August. If you are a GPEW member, you can cast your vote on the GPEW members’ site.