Unite general secretary Len McCluskey's threat of strike action during the London Olympics is "completely unacceptable and unpatriotic", Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said today.
McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, told the Guardian that unions could stage industrial action as part of their campaign against Government cuts.
He called for the public to engage in civil disobedience to defend public services during the fortnight of sport this summer.
Responding to his comments, Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said: "The Olympics are a great opportunity for this country to show everything that is great about the United Kingdom and advertise ourselves to the world.
"It is completely unacceptable and unpatriotic what he is proposing. Most people in this country, including members of that union, think the Olympics is a great occasion for the country and wouldn't want to see anything happen that would disrupt it in any way."
Mr McCluskey's comments were also condemned by Labour leader Ed Miliband, whose party is largely funded by union donations.
"Any threat to the Olympics is totally unacceptable and wrong," said Mr Miliband.
"This is a celebration for the whole country and must not be disrupted."
TUC head Brendan Barber said Britain's unions had been "strong supporters" of the Olympics and wanted a games "of which we can all be proud": "The TUC and Britain’s unions have been strong supporters of the London Olympics. This was reflected in the agreement we reached with London2012 in 2008, which included proper procedures for the speedy resolution of any disputes should any arise during the Games themselves.
“Unions have engaged constructively with the Olympic authorities throughout the whole project to ensure the good working conditions that are helping deliver the Games on time and on budget. We also want to see a great Games that delivers a proper legacy of jobs and regeneration.
“Of course unions seek fair reward for the extra work and long hours that will be required during what will be the busiest ever time for public transport and other public services, and not all such negotiations have been concluded. But of course unions want a Games of which we can all be proud.”
As usual, Twitter reaction was varied:
Earlier, 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."
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