Unite’s current General Secretary, Len McCluskey, is standing for re-election. He has set out the reasons why in a Statement to the Executive Council and why the election should take place in 2013.
I intend to fully support and campaign for Len McCluskey’s re-election.
Here are the reasons why.
Unite has faced significant challenges in Manufacturing: in Aerospace, Shipbuilding, Defence, Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronics, Steel, Metals, Chemicals, Oil, Pharmaceuticals, Servicing, Print, Packaging, Papermaking, Media, Information Technology, Communications, Automotive’s, Components and in General Manufacturing.
These challenges include defending our members jobs, pay and conditions, fighting for decent pay increases, and fighting for skills and apprenticeships to provide decent jobs. Its been harder because of the lack of any overall Government strategy to help manufacturing.
In all of these fights and campaigns, Unite members and officials have received the full support of Len McCluskey:
- At Honda in Swindon, Unite fought off a direct challenge to union recognition and an attempt to dismiss our most senior rep at the company. Len was directly involved with myself and other officials in negotiations with the company – giving the authority and support to mount a massive leverage campaign to defend our union and our reps.
- At MMP on Merseyside over 140 print workers were illegally ‘locked-out’ by their company. Len was at the forefront, supporting a concerted leverage campaign against MMP, meeting with the Austrian directors of the company on their home turf, and helping broker an honourable settlement that our members overwhelmingly accepted.
- At BAE Systems in Brough, Humberside, Len has given his full personal and political support to our members still fighting to save skilled engineering jobs at this strategically important site.
There are many other examples that didn’t make the headlines. But Len has supported the full use of the union’s financial, industrial, political and international strength to support members in dispute – wherever they are – in multi-nationals or in small and medium sized companies.
Under Len McCluskey’s leadership Unite has:
- Introduced the payment of £30 a day strike pay to members in dispute, defending jobs or seeking to advance their pay and conditions;
- Supported the defence of jobs in the UK automotive industry in order to build an industry with a real future;
- Support a strategy for the UK Oil industry to ensure that there are no more Coryton’s;
- Support for Unite’s ‘2020 Vision’ manufacturing strategy in the face of a Coalition Government bereft of an industrial strategy – a Government who are prepared to see well paid, skilled jobs go while attacking our members basic employment rights.
Unite was built on “three pillars” – Organising, International and Political. They are fundamental to our union’s structure.
Like many unions Unite’s membership has been hit by job losses. Len McCluskey has driven our 100% Organising campaign, across the union. This is building union strength where it is most needed – in the workplace. The result? 50,000 new members have joined the union – 17,500 manufacturing workers amongst them.
In addition Len has thrown his support behind organising campaigns, which have won union recognition and rights to information and consultation, building union membership.
Our global union with the United Steelworkers, Workers Uniting is developing all the time. Len McCluskey fully supports the need to build a global union. As the joint chair of Workers Uniting (with Leo Gerard of the Steelworkers in the USA and Canada) he has made sure Workers Uniting is a success – with joint initiatives to defend and support workers and their families in industries where Unite and the United Steelworkers are represented.
Len has been behind Workers Uniting joint initiatives, involving Unite women members, young members, members from ethnic minorities, members with disabilities and LGBT members.
For too long our members and activists have argued that we need more working people representing us in parliament, in local councils, in the Welsh Assembly, in the Scottish Parliament and in the Europe Parliament.
Under Len McCluskey’s leadership the process is underway to ensure we get more working class people into power to represent ordinary members and their families.
Using our political strengths Len has supported initiatives to get manufacturing back onto the political agenda. Remember how New Labour didn’t want to know about manufacturing until it was almost too late? With the pressure from Unite, manufacturing is back high on the the agenda. Politicians now want to speak to us about manufacturing, skills, apprenticeships and employment rights. The door is no longer closed.
Under Len McCluskey’s leadership of our union we have seen a re-structuring to ensure we function in the best interests of members, and Unite now has a ‘fit for purpose’ financial structure and legal service.
Len has also widened the involvement of our young members in the union; pioneered community membership; introduced a political “think tank” – and we are introducing a new credit union.
There is still much to do but I believe Len McCluskey has shown the vision and determined leadership to get the union moving forward – a union our members can be proud of.
That is why I am supporting Len McCluskey and will be for his re-election as General Secretary of our union.
Read Unite AGS Gail Cartmail on why she is supporting Len for re-relection as Unite General Secretary
Counterfire: Why we are supporting Len McCluskey – click here.
Download special leaflet on Len and Manufacturing by clicking here.