Clegg condemns union Olympics call

Wandsworth Guardian: Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has not ruled out the possibility of staging industrial action during the Olympic Games Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has not ruled out the possibility of staging industrial action during the Olympic Games

Nick Clegg has called on Labour leader Ed Miliband to "rein in" Len McCluskey after the union leader called for civil disobedience during the Olympic Games.

The Deputy Prime Minister said he believed people would be "gobsmacked" and "appalled" by Mr McCluskey's call for the public to engage in civil disobedience to defend public services during the fortnight of sport this summer.

"I just think people will be gobsmacked, appalled, that someone thinks that at a time when we are finally hosting one of the greatest events in the world, he is calling for civil disobedience," he told ITV Daybreak.

"I know he is the sort of paymaster of the Labour Party but I hope Ed Miliband will rein him in."

Mr Clegg's remarks come after the Unite general secretary told The Guardian that trade unions could stage industrial action to disrupt the Olympic Games as part of their campaign against Government cuts.

Mr McCluskey said no precise plans have been drawn up for action during the London Games, but added that they "absolutely" could include strikes. And he called on the public to engage in "civil disobedience" to defend public services during the fortnight of sport, which kicks off on July 27.

Conservative co-chairman Baroness Warsi said she was "shocked" by the Unite leader's comments. She called on Mr Miliband to "order" Mr McCluskey, who leads Britain's biggest trade union, to rule out disrupting the Olympics.

In the interview with The Guardian, Mr McCluskey was asked whether his union had discussed the possibility of strikes during the Olympics. He replied: "Absolutely, yes.

Mr McCluskey said his union had not yet discussed "the specifics" of how workers could target the Olympics, but said that London bus drivers would be "examining what leverage points we have, and the Olympics will clearly come into play".

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."

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