This letter is published in today's Guardian:
Your editorial (20 December) identifies Unite's new general secretary Len McCluskey as a Bourbon who has "learnt nothing and forgotten nothing" for proposing a "broad strike movement" to oppose the cuts. Surely, though, the more obvious candidates for such a rebuke are the leaders of the coalition government.
For it is increasingly obvious that this government is intent on repeating the cuts, privatisation and job slashing of the Thatcher years. Since the defeat of the miners, some unions have adopted precisely the course of action you urged. The result? Unions are not stronger and more influential than they were in the "bad old days".
No wonder many trade unionists admire the determination and energy of the students in their resistance to government policy. Many trade unionists now want to unite with the students in defence of public services. And many will be applauding the election of a general secretary who wants to defend both his members' jobs and the welfare state, on which most of us depend for education, health, benefits and much more.
John McDonnell MP
Sally Hunt General secretary, University and College Union
Mark Serwotka General secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union
Jeremy Dear General secretary, National Union of Journalists
Clare Solomon President, University of London Union
Bob Crow General secretary, Natiional Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
Michael Chessum Co-founder, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts
Paul Gilroy Professor in social theory, LSE
Andrew Burgin Coalition of Resistance
John Rees Coalition of Resistance
Paul Mackney Former general secretary, Natfhe
Zita Holbourne Black Activists Rising Against Cuts
Rachel Newton People's Charter