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Union blames Pickles for 'hostility' suffered by staff

The hostility from residents in flood-hit Wraysbury is a direct result of the irresponsible attack by Eric Pickles and others on the Environment Agency, the GMB union have claimed.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer for the Environment Agency (EA) said:

This report of hostility from the residents on the Thames is a direct result of the irresponsible attack by Eric Pickles and others on the EA.

His incitement has led to the very people on the frontline who are actually helping to alleviate the situation bearing the brunt of people's frustrations.

For more than seven weeks since Christmas the Environment Agency's staff have been run ragged helping and supporting the victims of flooding.

GMB members have been working double and triple shifts around the clock to protect and assist.

It is noted by these staffs that the Prime Minister has repeatedly refused to say the proposed cut of another 1,700 jobs at the EA will be reversed.

Ms Bowden said the Government must immediately reverse the "ludicrous cut" of 1,700 EA jobs and review funding to ensure the budget could cope with flooding and drought.


GMB union chief and Miliband to meet tomorrow

GMB union general secretary Paul Kenny and Ed Miliband are due to meet tomorrow in a meeting planned before today's decision to cut funding to Labour by £1 million.

A union source said its was made out of sorrow rather than in anger.

However, according to ITV News political correspondent Carl Dinnen, there are those in the Labour Party who thought it was a deliberate snub ahead of tomorrow's meeting:


Alan Johnson warns against 'petty retribution'

Former home secretary Alan Johnson - an ex-union leader - warned against "petty retribution" in the wake of Ed Miliband's party reform pledge.

"We can no longer go on living the lie with these millions of people signed up as levy-paying members to the Labour Party, and treated as if they were members," Mr Johnson told BBC Radio 4's The World At One.

Labour's Alan Johnson used to be general secretary of the Communication Workers Union. Credit: Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

"I call them the ghosts in the machine. That is bad for the party, it is bad for the trade unions."

The former Communication Workers Union chief added, "I just hope this is not a piece of petty retribution by a trade union."

Labour given 'more than a few hours notice' of decision

A senior Labour source said the party had been given "more than a few hours" notice of the GMB's decision to reduce its funding, and was not aware of any other unions planning similar moves.

Labour leader Ed Miliband will not be deterred from his plans to "mend not end" Labour's financial links with the unions, the unnamed source added.

The GMB union announced it is cutting its funding to the Labour Party from £1.2 million to £150,000. Credit: PA Wire

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "Nothing has changed. The union barons can still rig Labour's candidate selections, buy Labour's policies and pick Labour's leader.

"If Ed Miliband is too weak to stand up to his union bosses, he will be too weak to stand up for hardworking people."

Labour 'confident' of party membership amid policy row

Shadow Treasury secretary Rachel Reeves said she was "confident" more trade union members would sign up to the party when automatic affiliation is stopped.

"Of course we welcome the support that we get from the trade unions but this is a decision for the GMB," she told BBC Radio 4's Today.

"Since the last general election, membership in my constituency party in Leeds West has increased by 50 per cent. We've got more members, more trade union activists getting involved in the party because they like what Ed Miliband has to say.

"So I am confident that more people will sign up, get involved in the Labour Party, and come out campaigning. But that openness and transparency is really important and that is what Ed is trying to do."

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