Union stereotypes challenged by members’ election survey

Union stereotypes challenged by Prospect members’ election survey

The broad party political base represented by Prospect members has been revealed in a first-time election survey that paints a picture of the union at odds with the Labour-dominated caricature of the wider movement.

More than 10,600 members responded to the survey that asked how they had voted in May’s general election – as well as in 2010 - along with questions about job security, industry outlook, financial wellbeing and policy priorities.  

Exactly a quarter said they voted Conservative, just behind Labour on 29%. Third place went to the Lib Dems on 12%, while there were big percentage gains over 2010 for the SNP, Greens and UKIP.

Explaining the reasoning behind the survey, Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said: “Because of the largely unexpected election outcome we needed to identify and better understand the issues that were most important in shaping voting decisions and the reasons for those choices in order to ensure that Prospect campaigns effectively on behalf of our members.”

He added: “The fact is that most of trade union movement is unaffiliated and many other unions will likely share a similar broad-based member profile to Prospect.”

Despite the so-called jobs recovery, the survey showed that 43% of Prospect members feel less secure in their jobs now than in 2010 (compared with 11% who feel more secure). Some 51% feel more pessimistic about the outlook for their industry (compared with 16% who feel more optimistic).

In terms of issues affecting voting choices, the topped ranked items were handling of the economy, the NHS, taxation policies and welfare reform, closely reflecting concerns of voters across the economy. When asked what Prospect campaign priorities should be for the next two years, there was a strong degree of cross-party consensus around the top three: policies affecting my industry (47%), legal rights at work (44%) and public services (37%). Members also raised strong concerns around their pay, punitive performance management systems and pensions. Many will be looking to the union for information and advice in the lead up to the EU referendum.

Clancy concluded: “Our survey evidence should caution a government styling itself to represent working people against the use of a blunderbuss approach. Responsible politicians of all parties should not act on the basis of ill-conceived stereotypes, but should be informed by evidence and the varied experiences of people at work.”   

To see the election survey findings in full visit http://bit.ly/1IekL1O

For further information contact:
Mike Clancy
020 7902 6704 (w)
07770 304477 (m)
Andrew Child
020 7902 6681 (w)
07770 304480 (m)