Left winger Len McCluskey has won the election for the leadership of Britain’s largest union Unite. Second place went to another left candidate Jerry Hicks. Both McCluskey and Hicks stood on a platform of supporting coordinated strike action against the cuts.

Len McCluskeyMcCluskey received 101,000 votes. Jerry Hicks received 52,000 votes, beating Derek Simpson’s favoured candidate Les Bayliss (46,000) and Gail Cartmail (39,000 votes). Bayliss had used the election to attack McCluskey over the conduct of the BA strike and his support for coordinated strike action against the cuts. The members have clearly rejected the surrender proposed by Bayliss and backed resistance.

The right will no doubt use the low turnout of 16% to claim otherwise but the fact is that over 150,000 Unite members have delivered a clear mandate for serious action against Con-Dem austerity.

McCluskey said:
“My first task now will be to bring our union together and unite it in a campaign against the devastation the Government is unleashing against working people and their communities throughout the land.”

The left in Unite must now overcome the divisions that emerged in the course of the election campaign and organise to turn McCluskey’s words into action.