The new leader of the country’s biggest union, Unite, today (Wednesday) warned that thousands of families face a miserable Christmas and painful new year thanks to the coalition government.
Len McCluskey, who earlier today was ratified as the first solo general secretary of Unite by the union’s executive, reiterated his determination to expose the lies behind the coalition government’s justification for its savage assault on the quality of national life.
Announcing Unite’s campaign to mobilise its 1.5 million members and their families in defence of their communities – titled Don’t Break Britain – Len McCluskey said: “Working people are under massive attack now. This government is expecting them to pay, through job losses and spending cuts, for the crisis made in the City. Resisting that assault must be priority number one for any trade union leader. What Thatcher tried to do to the unions, the Con-Dems are trying to do to the welfare state – erase it from the nation’s life.
“Britain’s first Cameron Christmas is going to be a time of bleak uncertainty for millions of people – not just those who work in the public sector, but anyone in any way dependent on them. Food, fuel and essentials are all rising. VAT will jump in January but wages are frozen. For ordinary people, this is not a ’good recession’, as some Tory peers would have it, but a miserable and frightening time. Only the bankers with their bonuses will be celebrating.
“That is why at the start of 2011, Unite will be launching its Don’t Break Britain campaign aimed at uniting everyone fighting to maintain the elements of a fair society and cohesive community life in the face of this onslaught.
“We will campaign alongside those who cannot take strike action to save their services – those dependent on benefits, people on NHS waiting lists, school children deprived of sports facilities, pensioners anxious about fuel bills.
“Don’t Break Britain will be about our union with its roots in the communities placing itself at the heart of the growing movement of resistance to the cuts.”
Len McCluskey added that he believed strike action to defend jobs and services will become more likely as anger deepens over the government’s actions:
“Unite will support any of its members that wish to take industrial action to save the one million jobs at threat across the public sector and to protect their pay and conditions. Indeed, I believe such action will likely prove inevitable.”
Further, Len reiterated his full support for a new beginning for the Labour party: “I would also like to make clear straight away my full support for the Labour party and for Ed Miliband’s leadership of it. I believe Unite members want and expect Labour to unite behind Ed, not to listen to the Blairite undead trying to drag Labour back to a failed past.
“Our duty now is to work might and main to defeat the Tories and Lib Dems at the local elections next May and at the next general election.”
If the intended campaign is to be effective it will need to be one that engages with activists throughout all of Unite's Sectors and Regions.
This is an ideal campaign for the Activist Committees to focus upon.
Every Region should call an aggregate meeting of their Activist Committees to co-ordinate action within their region.
We can then build upon any success and learn from failure.
We cannot allow this issue to be fragmented where different groups of activists are left ion the dark as to what others are focusing upon