UK Politics

TUC: Union activists' views on Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband speaks at the TUC on Tuesday. Following the row over Labour funding and candidate selection in Falkirk, what do activists gathered in Bournemouth think?

Lesley-Anne Baxter, British Orthoptic Society, Exeter

It would help Ed Miliband if he took on the ideas of the unions and left behind all these disagreements over funding.

He should campaign on the issues, like cheaper housing and better conditions, that we campaign for.

Ours is a graduate profession and many people starting work find it hard to afford housing. These are the sorts of policy areas that have to be addressed to get the country back on track.

Eleanor Smith, Unison, Birmingham

Ed Miliband's attitude is a bit odd. I'm trying to put myself in his position, but I can't understand what he's doing.

I think he's listening too much to his advisers and not real people. He probably felt that he needed to do something, but I don't think he was right to do what he did over Falkirk.

He's trying to show that he's not being led by the unions, but that's giving in to the right. Now he's cornered like a fox. Where does he go?

He needs to talk about what we need to do to change what's going on in the country - issues like the living wage, zero-hours contracts.

I would say to Ed: Make a stand. Turn the arguments back on the right and then let them do the answering.

Christopher Donovan, Prison Officers Association, Liverpool

Whatever party is in power, nothing's going to change. Ed Miliband's not going to change the policies that the Tories have brought in. He will have the same funding restrictions on him that the current government has.

I haven't been very impressed with what he's said so far. Prison officers wouldn't see a change if he was in power. I don't think he would be any different to the Tories.

Ed Miliband is a nice enough bloke. He comes across as a genuine fella. But he should recognise the fact that the unions got him elected as Labour leader.

Kathy Dyson, Musicians' Union, Manchester

The whole Falkirk situation was a knee-jerk reaction by Ed Miliband. It was an internal political problem he should have sorted out quietly, but he used it as an excuse to bash the unions. That was a complete mistake.

He should be reassessing his whole approach, underlining the things he wants to do.

Labour should stand for social justice. The unions are a fundamental part of that. It was only because the 1945 government was full of trades unionists that so much was achieved. Unions are a key part of the movement.

Ed Miliband wants to win an election, but he's going the wrong way about it. The Murdoch press have got it in for him, so he should stop trying to appease them. There's a whole range of opinion and he should remember that.

But I don't think Ed Miliband will listen to the unions. Unless he does, he won't have a clear message.

Anita Halpin, National Union of Journalists, London

It's a complete mistake, 18 months or so before a general election, not to have clear policies in place.

Ed Miliband's attitude towards unions is mistaken too. There's nothing wrong with a collective affiliation that represents the sum of individuals' feeling.

The Labour Party was set up to give a voice in Parliament to workers. But Ed Miliband has given in too much to an agenda set by David Cameron and that affected his reaction to the Falkirk selection issue.

I've no doubt that a strong Labour would be the first step to turning around the austerity policies of the coalition. We need that.