Unite boss Len McCluskey seeks re-election to keep 'coming after' bad bosses

The leader of the country's biggest trade union has pledged to continue "coming after" bad bosses and standing up for "decent men and women" as he launched his campaign to win another term in office.

Len McCluskey is seeking re-election as Unite general secretary, saying his members need someone who is experienced and "fearless" to tackle continuing attacks on jobs, pay and conditions.

His current five-year term is due to end in 2018, but he is bringing forward the election by a year, to next spring.

Unite's Midlands regional secretary Gerard Coyne announced earlier this week that he will also stand in the election.

Mr McCluskey told the Press Association that one of the reasons he is standing again is the support he has received from union members and officials across the country.

He also wants to continue campaigning for a Labour government.

"I still have the same drive and passion to do the job I started, to create a powerful union that will always stand shoulder to shoulder with its members, to win decent pay and conditions."

He highlights the campaigns he has led against the "disgraceful" treatment of public sector workers who have been at the sharp end of the Government's austerity measures.

"These are decent men and women and I intend to continue leading the fight for them, as well as workers on zero hours contracts."

One of Unite's high profile campaigns this year has been to expose working conditions at retail giant Sports Direct, which Mr McCluskey pledged to continue.

"I am coming after bad bosses and campaigns to deal with them will be stepped up. We have so many issues to deal with, so now is the time for continuity and stability."

Unite has built up a £35 million strike fund, the biggest of its kind in Europe, which Mr McCluskey believes sends a strong message to employers, as well as assuring members they would not be "starved back" to work during a dispute.

Union members working as cabin crew at British Airways could soon be taking industrial action over pay, although Mr McCluskey urged the airline to hold talks in a bid to resolve the row.

Mr McCluskey said Unite's support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was a decision taken by the union's executive and the members, not him personally.

"We want to work for a Labour government, to reverse austerity and start to re-invest in manufacturing and our communities.

"I will be doing all I can to get Labour re-elected, and there is no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell (shadow chancellor) have put forward policies closely aligned to ours."

Mr McCluskey said he had been overwhelmed by the number of Unite members asking him to continue as general secretary, adding: "It has strengthened my resolve to continue with the fight."


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