Unite leader LEN McCLUSKEY addressing striking BA cabin crew earlier this year
Unite leader LEN McCLUSKEY addressing striking BA cabin crew earlier this year

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber led a delegation of union leaders to meet with Tory-LibDem coalition prime minister Cameron yesterday midday.

In a press statement, Barber said: ‘The UK is currently in the grips of a bleak midwinter.

‘Today we warned the Prime Minister that next year promises to be even bleaker for millions of families and their communities as the spending cuts bite hard and hit jobs and services.

‘We made clear to the Prime Minister our strong view that the spending cuts would both be socially divisive and economically dangerous.

‘We urged him to do more to raise money from the banks as a sector that had done the most to take us into the current crisis and which had received enormous help from government.

‘During the meeting there were useful discussions across a range of topics including green growth and jobs, manufacturing and equality issues.

‘We welcomed the Prime Minister’s intention to continue this dialogue with similar meetings in the future, and for urgent contact to take place with ministers on Post Office privatisation and public sector pension changes in particular.’

Writing in the Guardian yesterday, the Unite leader McCluskey said of the government ‘We have to be preparing for battle’.

He added ‘Early in the new year the TUC will be holding a special meeting to discuss co-ordinated industrial action and to analyse the possibilities and opportunities for a broad strike movement.’

McCluskey did not attend the meeting with Cameron.

The spokesman for Labour leader Ed Miliband condemned McCluskey, saying, ‘The language and tone of Len McCLuskey’s comments are wrong and unhelpful and Ed Miliband will be making that clear when he meets him in the near future.’

Rail Maritime and Transport union general secretary Bob Crow was also not at the meeting.

The RMT commented: ‘The only way to overturn this government is through a campaign of concerted industrial and political action.’

Also absent was Unison’s Dave Prentis. Bob Abberley represented Unison.