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Unite general secretary Len McCluskey meets with Suffolk members as part of re-election bid

PUBLISHED: 17:46 09 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:54 09 February 2017

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, outside the union's district office in Ipswich.
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, outside the union's district office in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The leader of Britain’s biggest trade union says that continued access to the European Union single market is not incompatible with greater control over migrant labour.

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, in Ipswich town centre ahead of visits to Sizewell B and the Port of Felixstowe.
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNLen McCluskey, Unite general secretary, in Ipswich town centre ahead of visits to Sizewell B and the Port of Felixstowe. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Speaking during a visit to East Anglia, Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said that post-Brexit access to the single market was vital in order to protect UK jobs and investment.

But he insisted that concerns over migrant workers could also be addressed, if businesses wishing to bring in labour from elsewhere were required to work more closely with unions.

“We want to make sure that Brexit does not damage investment and threaten jobs,” said Mr McCluskey. “Many people here in East Anglia voted to be out of Europe, and we respect that, but they didn’t vote to be out of work.”

He continued: “We believe that it is necessary still to have access to the single market but we also believe you can have access to the single market and still control the inflow of migrant labour.”

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, during an interview at the union's district office in Ipswich.
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNLen McCluskey, Unite general secretary, during an interview at the union's district office in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Companies wishing to bring in migrant workers should be required to secure agreements with their unions, he said, which would have the effect of controlling numbers while also preventing a “race to the bottom” in terms of pay and conditions.

“When we work with businesses, everyone benefits,” said Mr McCluskey. “We want employers to be successful and profitable but we expect the workforce to share in those benefits.

“We think Theresa May has got it wrong in terms of dismissing the need for access to the single market so as to achieve greater control of the border. We think you can do both.”

He added that, with a number of employer organisations also concerned over the terms of Brexit, he was confident that the Government would have to engage with industry as the negotiation process unfolded.

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, outside the union's district office in Arcade Street, Ipswich.
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNLen McCluskey, Unite general secretary, outside the union's district office in Arcade Street, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mr McCluskey, who has been general secretary of Unite since 2010, was speaking at the union’s district office in Ipswich ahead of visits to Sizewell B power station and the Port of Felixstowe to meet with members as part of his campaign to secure a third term in the role.

Nominations close on February 17, with Gerard Coyne and Ian Allinson also having signalled their intention to stand. Voting starts on March 27 with the result due on April 22.

4 comments

  • look at the other edp post .TUC report saying insecure work is now becoming the new norm . Why ? Because this country has been flooded with cheap labour . We have less worker right than they had in the thirties

    Report this comment

    exlabnowukip

    Friday, February 10, 2017

  • like labour the unions no longer represent the working class people of this country . They supported labour as they opened the doors to mass immigration resulting in lower wages and workers rights being lost

    Report this comment

    exlabnowukip

    Friday, February 10, 2017

  • this is the man that gave millions of pounds of union members money to the Labour party as a loan and then said the party did not have to pay it back for me i am looking to come out of the union if this man gets re-elected

    Report this comment

    kingsley

    Thursday, February 9, 2017

  • would not trust this man any further than i can spit, and that's not far.

    Report this comment

    ted

    Thursday, February 9, 2017

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