Three former union general secretaries give their support to Gerard Coyne in the current Unite election. Margaret Prosser, Bill Morris and Roger Lyons claim Gerard Coyne is best placed to lead Unite (Letters, 6 April). In all the months Mr Coyne has been running his campaign, he has failed to provide any policy detail about some of the issues and challenges raised in the letter, including Brexit and the rise of zero-hours contracts. At no point since has he said how he would develop a modern industrial strategy for Unite, how he would tackle growing inequality or the coming technological revolution that the UK economy will face.
In contrast, Len McCluskey has set out a vision on all of these issues, including proposals to deal with the threat to Unite members’ jobs from automation and digital technology; the need for the UK to retain access to the European Union’s single market and customs union to protect jobs in manufacturing; the need for a new skills strategy and for an end to uncertainty and a commitment to investment in our manufacturing and industrial sectors.
As a former member of the TGWU general executive council, I worked alongside Margaret Prosser and Bill Morris, and I am somewhat surprised that they are proposing to support somebody who is bereft of any ideas that would take the trade union movement forward.
Former president of Trades Union Congress 2013-14
• Your editorial (Brexit makes solving the productivity puzzle a priority, 10 April) highlights the importance of workers having access to new technology – and the skills to use it. A 2016 survey by the Smith Institute for Unions 21 showed that 7,500 workers represented by seven unions across key sectors of the economy strongly supported embracing technology in the workplace, but that less than one in four said their employer consulted them on this.
A majority felt they were working harder, but not smarter, than a year before. Prospect union’s experience is that involving workers in plans to improve productivity can lead to real benefits for industry and its workers. That is why we support the TUC in calling for the government to make workforce participation a key part of its industrial policy.
Deputy general secretary, Prospect union
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