The GMB Union, who represent over half a million workers across the country, have pulled funding to the Labour Party in London.
The unprecedented decision comes after the union accused Labour of "political victimisation" following the sacking of a grieving employee who had worked for Islington council for almost a quarter of a century.
In November 2020, Gary Bolister - a caretaker who had served the Labour-controlled London council for 24 years - was sacked following his appearance in a Facebook live video protesting Islington road closures in November last year.
According to GMB:
"On 21 November 2020, Gary took part in a spontaneous Facebook live video in his own time on a public highway. The video captured a councillor and some of her family in their home and when Gary realised, he moved the video maker away from the property.
"A formal complaint was made by the councillor and Gary was investigated under the disciplinary procedure."
In a statement on their website, the union go on to describe the disciplinary process as "flawed and prejudiced" and claim that Bolister - who was grieving the death of his father at the time - had "expressed full remorse from the outset and offered to write an apology to the councillor."
However, the caretaker was dismissed "for gross misconduct on the basis that he had breached the code of conduct and the social media policy" - and a subsequent appeal against his dismissal in April was also rejected.
In a statement released today announcing the union's decision to pull funding from Labour in London, GMB Regional Secretary, Warren Kenny, said:
“Gary is utterly devastated by his sacking – working for Islington council, where he was born and raised, was his passion and his vocation.
“His callous sacking over an honest error is beginning to look like political victimisation.
“GMB will always back our members and if Islington Labour refuse to listen to reason we will hit them where it hurts – in the party coffers.
“It’s a shame that other Labour candidates have to suffer the consequences of Islington council’s actions, but that’s the way it is until this matter is resolved.”
According to Electoral Commission records, the GMB union regularly hands over around a million pounds a year to the Labour Party.
GMB's decision also comes hot on the heels of the news that Labour's finances are in dire straits under Keir Starmer's leadership.
The party is said to have lost around 120,000 members since Starmer was elected leader, and it has also failed to accrue any extra income from wealthy individual donors.
Owing to their financial difficulties, Labour are also set to make 90 key staffers redundant as part of a "cost-saving" excercise.
According to the Guardian, Labour were the richest party in Britain under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership - raking in over £10m more than the Tories in 2017.