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Unite to back Labour at election

The leader of the biggest trade union in the country will today offer support to Labour in next year’s election as the best way to win back rights for workers.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite will tell the union’s national conference in Liverpool that Labour offers the chance to improve jobs, pay and conditions as well as reversing the privatisation of the health service.

Unite was one of a number of unions unhappy with reforms to the historic link with Labour, which led to work cut in funds to the party.

But Mr McCluskey believes that Labour should have enough money to mount a strong campaign against the Conservatives.

He will strongly attack the Government over its austerity measures, spending cuts, treatment of the NHS and employment and welfare policies.

His speech appears to be aimed at drawing a line under previous disagreements in favour of offering support to Labour leader Ed Miliband with less than a year to next May’s election.

In an article in today’s Morning Star newspaper, Mr McCluskey said: “For our UK members, there can be no doubt that if a Tory government is returned to power in 2015, the mindless austerity that the coalition has inflicted upon our people will be but child’s play; they have worse in store.

“2014 had barely begun when George Osborne was warning more cuts were on their way, with another £25 billion to be ripped out of the welfare state.

“Yet the Chancellor’s economic voodoo actually pushes the country deeper into the red, with £14 million per hour being borrowed.

“Even with a slim majority, the Tories would enforce draconian new laws on trade union activity – regardless of the fact that trade unions in the UK are already more restricted than anywhere else in Europe.”

Unite will reveal today whether its 70,000 members in local government in Wales, England and Northern Ireland have voted to take industrial action over pay.

Unison and the GMB have already held strike ballots, with their members voting in favour, in protest at a pay offer worth 1% for most workers.

A one day stoppage is being held on July 10, threatening the coalition with its biggest challenge to its policy of public sector pay restraint.

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