Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey tells UnionNews Coalition government ‘doesn’t know what it’s doing’ on the economy. “We have got to give ordinary working people confidence to continue to fight”


“I used to think an Eton Mess was a pudding, but it’s this government,” says Unite general secretary Len McCluskey.

“Cameron is appeasing the right wing of the Tory party as his policies fail, which means we must expect more attacks on the trade union movement.”

The Unite leader was speaking at a packed meeting of 200 union officers and reps last night (6 September) as activists joined a protest in Glasgow city centre (pictured, above) against the visit by Chancellor George Osborne.

Len McCluskey told UnionNews: “We’ve got a government that’s not listening to people. We’ve got a Prime Minister who doesn’t know what he’s doing.

“His economic policies are all over the place and in order to appease the right wing of the Tory party, the reshuffle has moved the government to the right.

“The problem is, of course, they don’t know what a Plan B is. They are bereft of ideas.”

The Unite leader says his union will use next week’s TUC conference to lay out ‘a positive economic alternative’, which he believes will ‘inspire working people to believe in our values once again’.

He told last night’s meeting in Renfrew, outside Glasgow: “Of course there is an alternative to these policies of austerity, but this government would like working people and trade unionists to believe that we just don’t know any better.”

He said Coalition ministers were embarked on a ‘path to poverty’ at a time when a third of a trillion Pounds are locked in the UK banking system ‘doing nothing’ for the economy.

Len McCluskey says: “The government says they’re concerned about spending money.

“Well, our argument next week will be about increasing the minimum wage by a Pound an hour.

“That won’t cost the government a penny, but it will be a big stimulus to the economy, reviving demand and hopefully getting people back to work.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Len McCluskey also spoke of his hopes for a huge turn-out in the planned October 20 demonstration, of ‘the absolute crime’ of the closure of dozens of Remploy factories and of how the trade union movement needs to ‘provide working class people with leadership’, so that they have the confidence to oppose government policies on pay, jobs and public services and on the privatisation of health services.

He says that is why he was pleased to see 80,000 spectators at the Olympic stadium booing the Chancellor, George Osborne.

“That was civil disobedience. That was protest in a public arena, because people are absolutely furious about the hypocrisy of a Prime Minister and Chancellor shaking hands with our fantastic Paralympians at the same time as this government is attacking disability benefits, attacking disabled people all over the place.

“So, our message is that we will continue to protest, to call for civil disobedience.

“Because this is a government that isn’t listening to people and any government that doesn’t listen to its own people normally ends up in the bin of history.”

The full interview with Len McCluskey will feature in the forthcoming edition of The Active Voice podcast.

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