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McCluskey returns fire at coalition's 'shocking' record

Len McCluskey lambasts 'bigoted' Tory agenda

Len McCluskey launched a blistering attack at the coalition government yesterday for its "absolutely shocking" track record of diminishing equality across Britain's workforce.

The Unite general secretary told the union's equality representatives, made up of black and ethnic minority, disabled, women, LGBT and young workers, how the Con-Dem government has failed every one of them since coming to power in 2010.

Mr McCluskey lambasted the "bigoted" Tory agenda against disabled people that has seen hundreds of thousands lose their benefits through publicly funded assessments like "fit for work."

Mr McCluskey ridiculed the fact that even under-fire Atos Healthcare was considering an early exit from its multimillion-pound contract to assess disability benefits.

"When even your paid-up flunkies refuse to do your dirty work, you know it's time to throw the towel in," was his message to the Tory-led governement, particularly Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

Mr McCluskey also slammed the Home Office's anti-immigrant "go home" vans, which stoked racial tensions in communities across the country.

e praised Britain for being a "beacon of hope" for LGBT international rights.

Mr McCluskey also called on young members to "show leadership" as millions cannot find work or face a lifetime of poverty wages in unskilled, low-paid jobs.

And he called for measures to allow equality representatives to enjoy the same legal rights as health and safety reps, a demand echoed by the union's assistant general secretary Diana Holland (pictured).

Ms Holland also called for an end to cuts to the Equality and Human Rights Commission and opposed renewed Tory commitments to attack trade unions.

She added that "trade unions are vital to equality" and warned that attacking them disproportionately affects minority groups, those that rely on them most.

Speaking on the achievements of Labour and trade unions during a Q&A session, Mr McCluskey commented: "We have always been on the side of the angels and we should be proud of that."

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