Got nothing against Gerard Coyne, but in 20-plus years associating with the labour movement I have never seen a candidate run such a desperate and rubbish General Secretary election campaign. Kicking off his Unite leadership bid, Gerard criticised Len McCluskey for spending more time talking about and fiddling with the Labour Party than looking after the welfare of the members. And since then, all his campaign has done is moan about Labour, taking potshots at Jeremy Corbyn, and busily morphing into the very caricature his pitch attacked. Meanwhile, Len has run a sensible Unite-focused campaign talking about workplace rights, pensions, attacks by bosses, members’ interests. You know, speaking to the people who pay his salary. Continue reading
Even taking account the advantages of incumbency, the momentum, dynamism and confidence of Len McCluskey’s campaign to be re-elected General Secretary of Unite stands in sharp contrast to the lacklustre efforts of the right wing challenger, Gerard Coyne, and the amateur hour theatrics of the “grassroots” candidate, Ian Allinson.
What stands out is not only that Len can point to year on year achievement, but that his campaign is getting out and about meeting members in organized workplaces around the UK, where he is meeting a strong response. Continue reading
The Guardian reports today that Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, has come out in favour of Ed Miliband working with the SNP after the election. However, McCluskey was also careful to back the Labour Party – even under the leadership of Jim Murphy – saying “we’re a democratic party and of course we’re behind him and supporting his efforts to change.” He argued that the problem was that, whereas disillusionment with Labour was usually associated with abstentionism by working class people because they saw no alternative to it, the SNP was seen as offering a credible alternative in Scotland and Ed Miliband had a difficult task in trying to repair the trust that had been lost under New Labour. Continue reading
Nigel Farage has said he would scrap laws designed to stop racial discrimination in the workplace that he claims are out of date because British society has moved on, making them redundant, and it is, he says, “ludicrous” that employers could not favour a British national for a role over a foreigner. In response, Len McCluskey, leader of Britain’s largest union Unite, branded Nigel Farage’s call to scrap equality laws as “dangerous crude dog whistle politics” that displayed a “breathtaking ignorance about the Britain we live in today.”
Speaking in a Channel 4 documentary to be broadcast next week, Farage said: Continue reading
Far left challenger to Len McCluskey in last year’s election for Unite general Secretary, Jerry Hicks, has lost his formal legal challenge to the Government’s Certification Officer. Having lost by144,570 votes to 79,819 in spite of backing from sections of the Right and every disgruntled member, his objection has finally been thrown out after a year of investigation and several hearings this month.
Many UNITE members were shocked and disgusted that Jerry Hicks took his own union to court on spurious charges (using the machinery brought in by Thatcher’s government to regulate trade unions) following the General Secretary election last year. His complaint of so-called “phantom votes” was based on the inclusion in the ballot of a number of members in arrears with their contributions (he claimed 160,000). However UNITE was following the practice as decided in previousCertification Officer hearings, namely that members in arrears cannot be denied a vote if they have not been contacted by their union and asked if they wish to remain a member and resume contributions. Continue reading