Union boss plays down strike threat

ONE of the country’s most powerful union bosses has refused to call for widespread strikes in the face of swingeing public spending cuts.

Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of the Unite union, said: “The government would love me to say there’s going to be a winter of discontent. That would move the emphasis onto union militancy and away from cuts.”

Simpson’s comments put him on a collision course with Bob Crow, the militant leader of transport workers’ union RMT, who has consistently called for a coordinated general strike.

Any strike action is likely to follow a comprehensive spending review due in the autumn, which will detail the extent of cuts, leading to fears that the UK could face another winter of discontent.