In this short and accessible book, Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union, presents the case for joining a union. Drawing on anecdotes from his own long involvement in unions, he looks at the history of trade unions, what they do and how they give a voice to working people, as democratic organisations. He considers the changing world of work, the challenges and opportunities of automation and why being trade unionists can enable us to help shape the future. He sets out why being a trade unionist is as much a political as it is an industrial role and why the historic links between the labour movement and the Labour Party matter. Ultimately, McCluskey explains how being a trade unionist means putting equality at work and in society front and centre-stage, fighting for an end to discrimination, and to inequality in wages and power.
About the Author
Len McCluskey is General Secretary of Unite the Union, the largest affiliate and a major donor to the Labour Party. As a young adult, he spent some years working in the Liverpool Docks for the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company prior to becoming a full-time union official for the Transport and General Workers' Union (T&GWU) in 1979. McCluskey was elected as the general secretary of Unite in 2010, and was re-elected to his post in 2013 and 2017. He has been a prominent backer and supporter of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“Len McCluskey is Britain’s best known, and arguably most powerful, trade union leader for good reason. He engagingly mixes personal experiences with unflinching conviction to present a compelling argument for the value of organised labour—whichever political party is Government.” —Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror
“A brilliant, accessible and thought-provoking book—and a reminder that unions will always be the best way for working-class people to win justice. Featuring a wealth of historical material, this lively and personal account shows how organised labour can thrive in the future. A must-read for trade unionists, activists and anybody who wants to build a more equal society.” —Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, Trades Union Congress
“An absolute pleasure to read: it’s part Len’s personal history, part argument for an active, participatory trade union movement. In drawing out the lessons of recent trade union disputes and campaigns, such as the Gate Gourmet strike, the British Airways dispute and the various battles round precarious work, this book will be a vital resource for young activists in particular. I think it should be on everyone’s reading list, in the Labour Party and beyond.” —Laura Pidcock, former Labour MP
“Len McCluskey’s little red book.” —Niall Paterson
“Excellent, clear, contemporary in its examples and historically informed.” —Manchester Review of Books