Derek Simpson backs moderate to lead Unite
Posted by Sophy at 11 11 AM on Saturday, October 23
THE LEADER of Britain's biggest union has backed a moderate who is AGAINST militant strike action to be his successor.
Outgoing Unite boss Derek Simpson last night threw his weight behind Les Bayliss, who has slammed walk-outs over spending cuts as “suicide”.
If the ex-engineer wins the top job, the recent spate of strike action could be a thing of the past.
Derek Simpson retires at the end of the year and will be replaced by a single general secretary who will run Unite, Britain's biggest union and Labour's biggest donor.
Mr Simpson said: "British people are facing a very difficult time right now and it's vital that the leader of Unite is up to the task of protecting members jobs and public services.
“Ranting and raving from the side lines will only keep Labour in opposition for a generation.
“The cuts announced this week are the tip of a very nasty iceberg but the task of opposing them will be complex.
“Only one candidate standing in the Unite general secretary election has in my mind the skills for this difficult job.
“Les Bayliss has the skills and the courage to unite the labour movement and build support in the general public for an alternative economic strategy to bring the country our of recession without the pain that will be imposed by the Tories on every family in this country.”
Mr Bayliss, 57, is known as a moderate who has called for “common sense” over strike action. He also condemned the British Airways walk-outs.
Last month he warned: "Public sector strikes will only deprive the vulnerable of services the Tories want to cut.
“We'll be doing the bad guy's job for him.
“Strikes will also turn the real victims, our members, into the villains.
"The story will get changed from government savagery to union militancy.
“The Tories will hit us with even more restrictive laws and working people will look away in disgust."