Union leader McCluskey to launch ‘economic alternative’ for NI at Stormont

Len McCluskey will be at Stormont on Wednesday
Len McCluskey will be at Stormont on Wednesday

High-profile trade unionist Len McCluskey is set to launch a paper addressing economic challenges in Northern Ireland to First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Stormont this week.

Unite’s general secretary will speak at the Long Gallery launch ‘Growing the Economy and Living Standards’ in a bid to address economic challenges facing Northern Ireland on Wednesday.

The union’s Ireland secretary Jimmy Kelly said: “I am very happy to confirm that both First Minister Peter Robinson MLA, and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA, will be speaking at the launch of Unite’s proposals for an economic alternative for Northern Ireland.”

He said Unite’s proposals “recognise that the Northern Ireland Executive faces unavoidable difficulties arising from the drastic reductions to the block grant enforced by the Conservative government in London”.

“But we believe that there are still options which are not being fully exploited to borrow for investment, to fund a needed economic stimulus and to introduce a new dynamism to business development,” he added.

“Our proposals paper seeks to initiate a discussion about the economic choices that can be made.”

Mr Kelly added that Unite “remains implacably committed to opposing austerity policies” but “will continue to advocate for realistic alternatives to endless austerity: a course that is resulting in deep structural damage to Northern Ireland’s economy and which will not result in growth”.

He said the paper launch “is only the start of a process of dialogue about economic alternatives that our union will seek to bring forward in the months to come”.