The BFAWU, which was among the unions to found Labour in 1900, accused the leader of a “factional internal war”
The bakers’ union has severed its historic link with the Labour Party as Keir Starmer’s rift with the Left deepens.
Members of the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) voted for the union to disaffiliate from the party and accused Labour of a “factional internal war led by the leadership”.
The move follows the leader’s refusal to back a £15-an-hour minimum wage and Labour’s decision to kick BFAWU’s president Ian Hodson out of the party over his support for Labour Against The Witchhunt – a group banned under Labour’s rules following repeated accusations of anti-Semitism.
The union said in a statement: “The decision taken by delegates who predominantly live in what’s regarded as Labour red wall seats shows how far the Labour party has travelled away from the aims and hopes of working class organisations like ours.”
The statement continued: “We need footballers to campaign to ensure our schoolchildren get a hot meal. Workers in our sector, who keep the nation fed, are relying on charity and good will from family and friends to put food on their tables. They rely on help to feed their families, with 7.5% relying on food banks, according to our recent survey.
“But instead of concentrating on these issues we have a factional internal war led by the leadership. We have a real crisis in the country and instead of leadership, the party’s leader chooses to divide the trade unions and the membership by proposing changes to the way elections for his successor will take place.
“We don’t see that as a political party with any expectations of winning an election. It’s just the leader trying to secure the right wing faction’s chosen successor.”
The union has remained supportive of Jeremy Corbyn amid the former leader’s row with Starmer.
BFAWU was among the trade unions to found the Labour Party back in 1900 and today has members across high street businesses, such as Greggs and McDonalds.
The decision to disaffiliate means the union will no longer donate to Labour and its members will not be represented on key decision-making bodies, such as the party’s ruling National Executive Committee.
A Labour source claimed the decision was driven by Hodson’s expulsion, telling the Mirror: “Labour won’t lose much money but the Bakers’ will lose a lot of influence. Instead of throwing his toys out the pram, the Bakers’ president should renounce his support of groups that contributed to Labour’s anti-semitism problem.”
It piles pressure on Starmer following Corbyn ally Andy McDonald quitting the Labour frontbench as MPs, delegates and Labour activists meet in Brighton.
The former Shadow Employment Rights Minister accused Starmer of breaking pledges he made during his leadership campaign.
The leader faced a battle with Left-wing activists over a string of rule changes, which strengthen the position of MPs in clashes with members and make it harder for rival leadership candidates to make the ballot.
Conference delegates backed him, however.