Tuesday, 27 April 2010


LAST NIGHT, at a meeting at Rochdale's Catholic Club on Ann Street, addressed by Jerry Hicks - a candidate for general secretary of Unite the Union - discussing the forthcoming General Election and the plight of the trade unions, the blacklisted electrician Colin Trousdale, member of Unite, said that he had not paid his political levy for 10 years. It also emerged that it was suspected that Unite had recently paid out an estimated '£4 million' of their members' money to the Labour Party. This has not been confirmed but it is clear the union is investing millions in the Labour Party.

Jerry Hicks stated that though he did not favour disaffiliation of the union from the Labour Party, he thought the Unite should be more discriminating to whom the money was paid. MPs sympathetic to the unions should get the money. Others at the meeting, some former members, expressed disappointment in the way the Labour Party was evolving and felt that it was beyond repair: beyond saving. Concern was expressed about the lack of support from Derek Simpson, the current Unite general secretary, for the British Airways' workers, the Vestas dispute on the Isle of Wight and the conflict at Lindsey Oil Refinery last year.

Others were angry about the failure of Unite to launch an internal investigation given the clear evidence of collaboration by officers of Amicus (now merged into Unite with the T&G) in the enforcement of the blacklist in the building trade and in the identification of militants. Jerry Hicks argued that: 'The union is run like a business, not a service', claiming 'there's a massive divide between the union leadership and members.'

It was also revealed by one at the meeting that the current general secretary of Unite, Derek Simpson, a former fitter from Sheffield, had developed a taste for the good life. Not only was he ensconced with a lady, a former director of legal services for Unite, in a grace & favour home at Gerrald's Cross, but he had taken to staying at the Waldolf Hotel when in London. While there on one occassion it was reported that he complained about the towels being 'too hard' and had had them changed for something softer on the skin.

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