The outrage (genuine and synthetic) generated by Len McCluskey’s speculative comments about strike action around the Olympics, goes to show how far trade unionism has been beaten back in recent years. Time was (I believe people now say “back in the day” – uggh!) union leaders would make such threats as a matter of course. On the left, our only complaint was that it was almost invarariably bullshit.
So it’s good to hear Lenny issuing such a threat. And it’s a disgrace (though entirely predictable) that Ed Miliband has denounced him.
Now, here’s a really radical proposal: Lenny, act upon what you’ve said. Why not time all future disputes – including pensions and also the bus drivers and staff, to co-incide with the Olympics, and involve the RMT, whose tube members are also in dispute over Olympic pay?
Go for it, Lenny boy!
P.S: according to today’s Graun, “Conservative co-chairman Sayeeda Warsi last night called on Ed Miliband to exert pressure on the union and said she was “shocked that Unite would sink so low.” She described the possibility of strike action as “an appalling display of naked self-interest.”
TORY DENOUNCES “DISPLAY OF NAKED SELF-INTEREST” (!!!) – AND ISN’T TALKING ABOUT BANKERS (!!!)
P.P.P.S: from Jim Denham:
I thought I’d add a further comment: it seems to have been forgotten (including by Ed Milband), that the role of trades unions is to defend their members’ interests. Not the “national” interest, and not some nebulous “joint” interest, allegedly between employer and empoyee: no – we’re in business to defend our members. We may even think, sometimes, that they’re in the wrong, but we still do our best to defend them. That’s what unions are all about. That and furthering the interests of the working class as a whole. Even when we find it morally difficult to defend a member (eg: accusations of child abuse or terrorism) we at least do our best to ensure due process.
And, of course, we take advantage of opportunities to further our members’ interests, such as moments when the employers are vulnerable. OF COURSE we do that! We’d be negligent if we didn’t. HOW DARE WARSI AND HER TORY BANKING FRIENDS CRITICISE LEN AND THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT FOR DEFENDING THE WORKING CLASS!