Len McCluskey calls for bailout of struggling oil industry

Unite chief Len McCluskey said he is running on his 'record and vision' as his campaign for the union's leadership arrived in Scotland today.

Len McCluskey brought his campaign to continue as Unite leader to Scotland yesterday. Picture: PA
Len McCluskey brought his campaign to continue as Unite leader to Scotland yesterday. Picture: PA

McCluskey, the leader of the country’s biggest trade union, faces a challenge to his post as general secretary from rival Gerard Coyne.

He met with union members in Glasgow yesterday to rally support, saying that urgent action is needed to boost the economy to help it withstand the impact of Brexit.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Speaking ahead of his speech, McCluskey said: “I always feel at home in Scotland. I’ve always had fantastic support from my members up here.

“I’m running on my record and vision and I’m confident that I will get the support of great men and women in Scotland and it will be a springboard to another successful campaign.”

Speaking of his plans if re-elected, he said he would like to see the backing of a public investment plan for the offshore industry similar to the bailing out of the banks after the 2008 financial crash.

He said: “If we look at the offshore sector, which is vital not only for jobs but also the economy of Scotland, it’s going through a difficult time and it needs government support and it needs to have a cash injection.

“There also needs to be serious consideration to a public stake in the offshore industry because, contrary to what people might say, there are billions of tonnes of oil still in the North Sea – it’s a huge asset.

“We’ve got to make certain that both the Scottish and Westminster governments intervene in the way that they did with the banks to assist this vital sector.”

The union chief is also calling for the historic debts of Scottish councils to the UK Treasury to be written off.

McCluskey said: “The other thing I’m calling for is this question about the historic debt that was before devolution on local authorities – it’s just unfair.

“The Westminster government needs to drop that debt and allow our local authorities to give the proper services to the people of Scotland.”

On Brexit, McCluskey said the union is going to fight for an outcome that protects jobs, seeks inward investment and protects the rights of working people.

He added: “We are going to argue with the Prime Minister that we should have a seat at the table throughout the discussions.”