Derry trade unionists backing Len McCluskey in re-election bid

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Derry trade unionists are backing general secretary of Unite, Len McCluskey, in his bid for re-election as union leader.

Unite’s Irish chair, Liam Gallagher, said: “I’m personally endorsing him, along with most of the North West branches, on the basis that Len is a safe pair of hands.

“He has a good industrial strategy, particularly when it came to trying to save jobs in England. His record around the motor car industry and all the component parts that make that up, in the fight to save steal in Britain, have bene second-to-none. He’s been a safe pair of hands in terms of trying to get the Labour Party back to some sort of cohesive grass roots place.

“He’s also a very good friend of Ireland. He’s been very supportive in relation to manufacturing and the job losses we’ve experienced here.”

Mr. McCluskey has been general secretary of Unite since 2011 and is currently being challenged for the leadership by Gerard Coyne.

Speaking in Belfast today he said he will insure the London government are aware of the unique challenge Brexit presents for Irish workers.

“Brexit presents the industries and communities of Northern Ireland with profound challenges,” he said.

“Around 50,000 jobs are dependent on EU exports. We also have a situation where Unite members cross the border with the Republic every day, as do the goods and services they make.

“It’s simply irresponsible for hard line Brexiteers to trumpet ‘taking back control’ when this risks rolling back the peace process as well as damaging the economies on both sides of the border by impacting on free trade.

“The harsh reality of such an EU exit will be felt most by the people of Northern Ireland for whom supporters of a hard Brexit seem to have no care. The prime minister must work with trade unions in achieving a Brexit and manufacturing strategy that provides new money, real investment and guarantees that contracts and jobs remain in Northern Ireland,” said Mr. McCloskey.