Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the Unite Union, has resigned from his position a year early so that he can trigger a leadership contest that he himself will be standing in. Gail Cartmail will take over as General Secretary of the Union until the election is held next year.
The sting in the tail though is that the Unite Union has agreed to continue to pay Len McCluskey his full salary for the next 5 months leading up to the leadership contest and will pay Gail Cartmail the same salary as she will receive a temporary increase in line with her new duties. The Executive Committee of the Unite Union have agreed that Ken McCluskey can stay in his post, even though he has resigned, until April 28th 2017 when the result of the elections will be announced, effectively meaning that the Union now has TWO General Secretaries.
I find this to be a bit off, who gets to resign from their job but keep the perks and the salary. As a Unite member I find this very odd indeed, this will give the anti-union media and politicians more ammunition to throw at the trade union movement, and in particular the Unite Union, who are the major backers of both Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.
I do not agree with Unite providing millions of pounds to the Labour Party but understand why they do, it’s not as if the Conservative and other parties don’t have financial backers, but for the General Secretary of the union to think for one minute that this is the right message to send in these times when most working people are suffering shows a serious lack of judgement on both his and the unions part.
It feels more like jobs for the boys, and when the Union and Len stand up to attack the largesse of Westminster, and its Lords and MP’s, this will be thrown right back at them and rightly so. Len McCluskey in standing down should have made sure his salary reflected whatever position he still held and that position should not be that of General Secretary, meaning the Union effectively having two General Secretaries, that is not good enough.
The General Secretary of Unite the Union earns around £103,000 per year, great if you can get it.