UNITE union general secretary Len McCluskey sent an open letter to the Chancellor yesterday urging the government to give up its “hostile” approach to unions.
In his missive, the leader of Britain’s biggest union reminded George Osborne that there are 6 million trade union members and without their hand work, the British economy would have no way of being propelled forward — and called on the Conservatives to respect that fact.
Unionised workers should be regarded as “partners in productivity” rather than enemies, the letter continued, especially when it comes to the Tories’ proposed anti-strike laws.
Mr McCluskey’s intervention comes ahead of the publication of a Tory “productivity plan” scheduled alongside Mr Osborne’s “emergency” Budget next Wednesday.
The Treasury is expected to call for increased output and efficiency — even though Mr Osborne and his stablemates are cutting spending where it is needed most, such as in adult education and public-sector jobs.
Mr McCluskey wrote: “When the government praises the success of the British motor industry that is correct and welcome.
“But it should not forget that it is the hard work and expertise of Unite representatives and thousands of trade union members who have helped make it so.
“So it is time to drop the attacks on trade unions. [The Tories] certainly do not respect the sacrifices and contributions of working people during these tough years.
“The challenge to renew our economy is far too serious and requires us all to work responsibly together so if I can offer Mr Osborne one piece of advice, it is that the hostility has to end.
“It is far better to regard unions and their members as partners in productivity.”