Len McCluskey chosen as new Unite leader

Image caption,
Len McCluskey won his general secretary post after receiving 101,000 votes

Len McCluskey has been elected leader of the UK's biggest trade union, Unite.

His win, with 101,000 votes, will see him take over from joint general secretaries Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson who have been in post since the union formed in 2007.

Mr McCluskey, 61, has held several senior posts with Unite and the Transport and General Workers Union.

Election turnout was 16% - the result be formally announced when the union's executive meets on Wednesday.

Mr McCluskey said he was "honoured and humbled" by the result.

He said: "My first task now will be to bring our union together and unite it in a campaign against the devastation the Government is unleashing against working people and their communities throughout the land."

He was closely involved with a dispute between British Airways and its cabin crew which resulted in a series of strikes.

He has been an active trade unionist since 1968, beginning work at that time as a docker in his native Liverpool, soon becoming a senior shop steward.

In 1979 he was appointed an officer of the Transport and General Workers Union, and in 1990 became national secretary for the General Workers group.

In 2004 he was promoted to become the union's national organiser for all the service industries, including public services, construction and the voluntary sector.

Mr McCluskey later became Unite's assistant general secretary for industrial strategy. He has been a member of the Labour Party for 39 years.

Candidate Jerry Hicks came second in the election with 52,000 votes, Les Bayliss was third with 46,000 votes, and Gail Cartmail came fourth with 39,000 votes.

Unite has more than 1.4m members and was formed by the merger between two of Britain's leading unions, the Transport and General Workers Union and Amicus.

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