Unite leader Len McCluskey issued a call to arms ahead of an expected general election at the TUC Congress today (10 September), mocking Boris Johnson as a wannabe Churchill more akin to Disney character Wreck-it Ralph.
He said, “We know who you are Boris Johnson. We know your game. Your wish to be Churchillian, rather than the Wreck-it Ralph that you are.
“But know this. We will fight you in our hospitals, we will fight you in our factories, we will fight you in our communities, pick your beach prime minister. We’ll never surrender. We are the workers of Britain and we’re coming for you.”
McCluskey called on the trade union movement to lead the political, industrial and community resistance to Boris Johnson’s hard-right government, saying that only Labour will build an economic alternative that will bring security and equality to the UK’s communities.
Music to my ears
McCluskey praised Jeremy Corbyn’s commitments to a fit-for-purpose industrial strategy and serious economic plan, saying there were “music to my ears”.
McCluskey said the Labour Party is committed to an economic alternative that will bring “security and equality to our communities, in stark contrast to the tax cuts for the wealthy promised by Johnson”.
“No wonder the Financial Times devoted so much space to analysing Labour’s economic policies, with hysterical headlines about raids on company shares. But while the FT was of course right that Labour will be transferring significant amounts of shareholder wealth to workers – and we thank them for the free advertising – let’s be clear,” McCluskey said.
“A £300 billion raid is not theft. It’s giving workers back what is rightfully theirs. Redistribution of income, assets, ownership and power is at the heart of Labour’s economic and industrial strategies.”
Raising the likelihood of an imminent general election, McCluskey slammed the Tories’ decade long record of attacking the poorest and most vulnerable, creating division and failing to offer a coherent industrial strategy.
He said, “Only Labour can ensure decent, secure jobs with an end to the scandalous abuse of migrant workers and agency labour. Empowered by the force of our movement.
“Embodied by the likes of the Harland and Wolff workers here today. Who’ve occupied their yard for the past month, fighting to save their jobs, demanding nationalisation, demonstrating our movement’s wonderful values of solidarity and community spirit.
“And the striking Lincolnshire health visitors, denied a pay rise by a Tory council for nearly two years.”
McCluskey said Brexit uncertainty has worsened Britain’s manufacturing crisis, but warned Congress that issues impacting the UK’s industrial base and communities go much deeper than that.
He said, “They have been ravaged by generations of neo-liberalism. Our great manufacturing industries decimated.
“The crisis is the lasting impact of the biggest act of industrial sabotage ever seen. Sabotage that includes the anti-union laws and the dramatic changes made to collective bargaining amid wholesale market deregulation.”
McCluskey then issued a call-to-arms to Congress saying that “our class consciousness and community spirit can be the foundation for a fundamentally different kind of society, one in which no place is ever left abandoned”.
He added, “To achieve that we, as a movement, have to be at the forefront of the political, industrial and community resistance to this hard-right government. It’s a government that despises us and the places we come from.”