Len McCluskey to honour the `South west’s finest’

Len McCluskey to honour the 'South west’s finest’

20 February 2017

The general secretary of the biggest union in the UK will honour the finest traditions and skills of the union on his visit to the south west tomorrow (Tuesday).

Len McCluskey will meet members and managers at Leonardo helicopters, formerly Westland, where he will call again for the government to restate its commitment to the aerospace industry, a vitally important employer in the south west region.

Unite has repeatedly called for a defence procurement programme as part of an integrated industrial strategy that will put UK manufacturers and workers first. 

Len McCluskey will say that the government’s decision to award helicopter contracts to Boeing was a real blow to the south west’s manufacturing base, and will call for guaranteed packages of work for UK manufacturers like Leonardo.

The day will conclude with the presentation of Unite’s highest award to members, its’ Gold Medal, to a former Leonardo worker, Joe Conway.

Ahead of his visit to the south west, Len McCluskey said: “It is a privilege to come to the south west today to celebrate the best of our union and the pride of the South West.

“At Leonardo, we have another reminder of the quality in UK manufacturing but this quality needs the support of the UK government.  

“This is the only factory in the UK that makes military helicopters but when the government awarded the contract for 50 Apache helicopters to Boeing, it was a kick in the teeth for this workforce.  The government has to understand that its duty is to keep UK manufacturing strong, which means guaranteeing packages of work to good companies like Leonardo.” 

Commenting on the gold medal award to Joe Conway, Len McCluskey will say: “Joe is the embodiment of what is decent about our union movement.  He gave his employer a lifetime of service but combined this with a lifetime of dedication to his fellow workers and union members.

“It is absolutely fitting that Joe is rewarded with the top accolade available to this union, our Gold Medal. This aware is thoroughly deserved and I am extremely proud to be bestowing it upon Joe.”

Len McCluskey’s visit to the Leonardo plant begins at 14:00 hours, Tuesday 21 February, 2017.


For further information please contact Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.

Notes to editors

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.