Keir Starter could be leading Labour into bankruptcy after the party’s biggest donor threatened to withdraw its funding.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said the “remaining financial support” her union gives Labour is “now under review”, amid an ongoing industrial dispute.
The powerful union boss, who replaced Len McCluskey last year, has raised concerns over an industrial dispute with a Labour council – and warned Sir Keir that the party must act like “the party for workers” again.
“Let me be very clear – the remaining financial support of Labour Party is now under review,” she said in a message on Wednesday evening.
“Your behaviour and mistreatment of our members will not be accepted. It’s time to act like labour, be the party for workers.”
Labour has already undertaken a round of mass redundancies and asked staff to take a pay cut as a funding crisis grips the party.
Since Sir Keir replaced Jeremy Corbyn, the party has seen an exodus of members – with many unhappy that the Labour leader has stripped the party’s platform of many of its most popular, radical policies.
The result is a shortfall in revenue amid a dramatic cut to membership subscriptions.
And the latest conflagration between Unite and Starmer came in Coventry, where refuse workers have been on a weeks-long strike amid a dispute over pay.
Graham said that Labour-run Coventry council has “time and again totally misrepresented the union’s claims for its bin drivers”.
She said the local authority “should be ashamed of the spin it has tried to make about its own workers’ pay rates”.
Asked about the spat, a Labour spokesperson told The Independent that the party was “under new management”.
“Keir Starmer’s Labour Party will always act in the public interest. These sort of threats won’t work in Keir Starmer’s Labour Party,” they said.
“We would have hoped that Unite would have got the message that the Labour Party is under new management.”
And Jon Lansman, founder of left-wing campaign group Momentum, questioned Unite’s tough stance.
“If [Sharon Graham] wants to win political victories for our members, we must work with other trade unions and the constituency Labour party Left to change the direction of Labour, not abandon Labour in favour of no-hoper fringe parties,” he said.
“She needs a political strategy as well as industrial strategies, but she does not have one. Political threats are OK provided you have clear political demands and a strategy for delivering them.”
Unite is Labour’s biggest donor and the UK’s second biggest union – but in December, Graham said she did not think it was getting “the best value” from the money it was giving to Labour.
She said: “The fact that I am being quite robust is because Labour needs to talk about workers, needs to defend workers and needs to defend communities.”