Union boss Len McCluskey misses Stormont meeting

Len McCluskey, the leader of the UK's biggest union, was unable to travel to the Stormont event
Len McCluskey, the leader of the UK's biggest union, was unable to travel to the Stormont event

A major trade union event at Stormont went ahead on Wednesday, but in the absence of one of its speakers.

Len McCluskey, the leader of the UK’s largest union Unite, had been scheduled to attend a meeting in the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings alongside senior politicians, outlining the union’s own economic blueprint for the Province.

However, Mr McCluskey had to cancel at the last minute.

It is understood he hurt his back and was advised against travelling.

It had also been thought that First Minister Peter Robinson would attend, or possibly Finance Minister Arlene Foster.

However, in the event neither were present, and Emma Pengelly – the new minister at the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister – attended instead, along with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

The Unite union has an estimated 40,000 members in Northern Ireland, and claims over 1.4 million members in total.

Mr McCluskey’s speech was instead read by regional secretary Jimmy Kelly.

The plan which he outlined included calls for an expansion of the Province’s railway network, upgrades to the electricity infrastructure, and more support for “companies of excellence”.