Senior Labour figures distance themselves from potential Olympic disruption

29th February, 2012 11:30 am

Senior Labour figures have come out against the suggestion from Unite’s Len McCluskey that there was the potential for disruption of the Olympics from trade unions. Ed Miliband tweeted this morning that:

“Any threat to the Olympics is totally unacceptable and wrong. This is a celebration for the whole country and must not be disrupted.”

Deputy Leader Harriet Harman said that McCluskey was “aboslutely wrong to even float the notion”:

“Len McCluskey is absolutely wrong to even float the notion that there should be any trade union disruptions or anything that would disrupt the Olympics.” 

“The Olympics are going to be a fantastically important thing for London and the whole country.  It is inconceivable that trade union members would want to disrupt something that they’ve been very much a part of.” 

“I have spoken to Len McCluskey this morning and said that both Ed Miliband and I think he is wrong and we think that he shouldn’t even have been floating the prospect.” 

“We all need to be rallying behind the Olympics. It is going to be an important opportunity for Britain and is going to affect our jobs, our economic growth in the future and the prosperity of this country.”

Labour’s Olympics spokeswoman Tessa Jowell said:

“No one in our country looking forward to the Olympics, no athlete preparing, and none of our thousands of potential visitors, would understand or sympathise with any disruption to the Olympic Games.

“If this is a negotiation it should take place in private. Unions and employers should get together and sort it out without threats or disruption to Britain’s Olympics.”

And a spokesperson for Labour’s Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone said:

“Ken’s position is unequivocal, there must be no disruption of the Games from any quarter. Ken will work hardest to ensure there is no disruption to the Olympics not least because it was Ken who successfully worked to secure the Games in the first place.”

“The Tories have sought to make this an issue in the Mayoral election. Ken’s background makes him better qualified to handle the pressures London is under than the Tory Mayor Boris Johnson. For example, there were less tube strikes under Ken in two mayoral terms that in one term of Boris Johnson.”

“On the specific industrial issue of the bus workers’ dispute, it is an indictment of Boris Johnson’s administration that in the run-up to the Olympics this is still completely unresolved.  It’s clear from his comments today that Boris Johnson no intention of dealing with the thorny employment issues on the bus network, which are a growing source of potential conflict. That is an untenable position. The Tory mayor has failed to get a grip: for four years we’ve had bluster – words but no action – and we now need clear leadership.”

“London needs a Mayor that puts Londoners first not someone who thinks it’s acceptable to have a second job earning £250,000 on top of his mayoral salary.”

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