The second policy conference of the Unite union began in Brighton on Monday of this week.
Opening the conference for the first time as general secretary, Len McCluskey attacked “judges and governments of both parties” for using anti-union laws to prevent strikes.
“Any politician thinking of putting unions outside the law should beware what they wish for,” he warned. “You will rue the day.”
McCluskey praised Unite’s strategy of “leverage”—organising protests and stunts to put pressure on intransigent employers. He also defended the union’s link with the Labour Party.
One motion would have seen 10 percent of Unite’s funding for the Labour Party diverted towards campaigning for trade union freedoms. This fell though a quarter of delegates voted for it.
The conference agreed on economic strategies, including demanding the banks are nationalised under democratic control.
In the session on health and safety, one haulage worker listed colleagues who had died from cancer and argued for stronger action against diesel fumes.
A fringe meeting in the evening discussed Unite’s campaigns against the far right, with the union’s political director Steve Hart and Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism.