Len McCluskey

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Len McCluskey is a trade unionist who has been general secretary of the UK's largest trade union, Unite, since 2010.


Having previously worked as a docker and a senior shop steward, McCluskey was appointed an officer of the Transport and General Workers Union in 1979 and in 1990 became national secretary for the union. In 2004 he was promoted to the union's national organiser for all the service industries, and following T&G's merge with Abicus was promoted to Unite's assistant general secretary for industrial strategy.

In 2010 McCluskey was elected the leader of Unite, replacing former joint general secretaries Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson who had been in the post since 2007. McCluskey received 101,000 votes, nearly double that of his nearest rival - Jerry Hicks with 52,000.[1]

In April 2013 he was re-elected as the union's general secretary, winning 144,570 votes with his nearest rival again being Jerry Hicks with 79,819.[2]


Unite are one of the largest donors to the Labour Party.[3]

McCluskey himself has been a member of the Labour Party for over 40 years.[1]

Meetings with Miliband

Between 25 September 2010 and 31 December 2013, McCluskey met Labour leader Ed Miliband 13 times. These meetings were often also with the leaders of other trade unions and Labour Donors, Paul Kenny of GMB and Dave Prentis of Unison.[4]

2015 General Election

In April 2014 McCluskey said Unite might not continue to donate to the Labour Party if the party does not win the 2015 General Election. He claims Labour will lose if it campaigns 'on what he called "a pale shade of austerity", rather than the more robust left-wing political programme that he and his union allies want'.[5]

McCluskey also spoke out against the appointment of Jim Murphy as leader of Scottish Labour. In November 2014 he argued that if Murphy was to become the leader of the party in Scotland it would end the prospect of victory at the 2015 General Election as Murphy was the 'candidate of reheated Blairism' and his victory 'would be all the SNP's Christmases come at once'.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 BBC News, Len McCluskey chosen as new Unite leader, 21 November 2010, accessed 3 March 2015
  2. Unite the Union, Len McCluskey re-elected as Unite general secretary, 14 April 2013, accessed 3 March 2015
  3. Electoral Commission, Donation search, accessed 3 March 2015
  4. Labour, Ed Miliband meetings, accessed 3 March 2015
  5. Andy McSmith Unite union boss Len McCluskey threatens to launch party to rival Labour Independent, 01 April 2014, accessed 3 March 2015
  6. Simon Johnson Len McCluskey: Labour will lose general election if Jim Murphy is elected Scottish leader Telegraph, 13 Nov 2014, accessed 3 March 2015