Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/380/4286

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 February 2005

Left victory in firefighters' union

LEFT-WING candidate Matt Wrack has won a bitterly fought contest for the assistant general secretary position in the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). His victory over John McGhee will be welcomed by Left activists inside the FBU and other unions.

The election for general secretary of the union will now begin on 7 February. It is widely expected that the contest for this post will be between the incumbent Andy Gilchrist and Matt Wrack.

In a bruising contest which saw red scare and witch-hunting tactics from much of the union officialdom, Matt Wrack defeated John McGhee by 6,260 votes to 5,527. Another Left candidate, Dean Mills, received 1,981 votes. The turnout was just over 25%.

The result follows one week after the election of Left candidate Christine Blower as deputy general secretary in the National Union of Teachers.

John McGhee was seen as Andy Gilchrist's chosen successor. If he had won this election then it was speculated that Gilchrist - who was widely discredited in the union after the setbacks of the national strike action in 2002/2003 - would have stepped aside to allow McGhee to be frontrunner for the general secretary position.

Witch-hunts

However, McGhee was rightly seen as the hardline of the union bureaucracy who have been behind suspensions of left-wing national officials and witch-hunts in the union against activists grouped around the Grassroots FBU.

Red scares and muckraking, which were common features of the campaign against Matt Wrack in particular, have rebounded on this layer of officials who were desperately trying to cling on to any influence they had in the union after they were discredited over their handling of the firefighters' strike in 2002-2003.

The votes of Matt Wrack and Dean Mills shows that there is now a harder, more critical Left in the union - a fact also shown by the decision last year to disaffiliate the union from the Labour Party.

There was a hope amongst many on the Left that there would not have been two Left candidate standing in this election, because of the necessity to stop McGhee who would have imposed a much more autocratic regime in the union. Nevertheless, McGhee has now been defeated and it is likely that Matt Wrack will be the sole Left challenge to Gilchrist for general secretary.

Development

At the same time as Matt's election there has been the development of a hard-Left group on the National Executive, which Matt Wrack will need to work with and help develop if the union is to be transformed into a fighting and more democratic organisation.

A prerequisite for this will be the sweeping away of the rules that were introduced by Stalinists in the 1950s. They prohibit effective organisation of Left groups inside the union and do not allow candidates to canvass or advance their industrial and political programme in elections.

However, Matt and others on the Left in the union will also have to ensure that firefighters' confidence about winning industrial struggles is restored. An essential first step towards this could be a successful ballot for strike action on pensions alongside other unions on 23 March.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 12 February 2005:

Defend pensions: All out on 23 March

Time to make a stand on pensions

NUT leadership wriggle over pension action

Incapacity benefit: New Labour hits the poor and vulnerable

Bolsover protesters win round one of toxic waste battle

Crisis time in Welsh hospitals

Immigration policy: Labour apes the Tories - again

Longbridge workers still fighting to defend jobs

Left victory in firefighters' union

UNISON general secretary election: Prentis attacks the opposition

Financing the fightback

May Day Greetings

Iraq - mobilise to withdraw the troops

Huge crowd cheers Chavez's radical speech at World Social Forum 2005

Socialism can 'make poverty history'

Northern Ireland decommissioning crisis: The failure of sectarian politics

Slovakia: Multinational victimises trade unionists

Scottish Socialist Party: Clear socialist alternative needed


 

Home   |   The Socialist 12 February 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Firefighters:

triangleSolidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide

triangleSurrey FBU pass no confidence motion

triangleSouth London tower block residents plan safety campaign

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleUnions call for action after Grenfell

Matt Wrack:

triangleSupport the campaign to readmit expelled trade union militants

triangleMomentum left meeting excludes socialists

triangleCorbyn movement must seize initiative

triangleVictory for firefighters facing dismissal in Manchester

Election:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleThe Tories must be driven out

triangleGermany: Election results in political earthquake

FBU:

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

triangleTories weak: time for the TUC to act

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

12/10/17

Cleaners

Justice for Tube cleaners demo

11/10/17

Salford

Salford Unison condemns pay cuts

11/10/17

Royal Mail

CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

11/10/17

Carlisle

Carlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP

11/10/17

Green

Don't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

11/10/17

Fire

No more fire deaths - ensure safety now!

11/10/17

Cardiff

Cardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

11/10/17

John McDonnell

Manchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation

11/10/17

Orgreave

Join the Orgreave Halloween rally

11/10/17

Union

Workplace news in brief

11/10/17

Democratic rights

Who's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

6/10/17

Northern Ireland

Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

5/10/17

Runcorn

Too much to cross the Mersey

4/10/17

Royal Mail

Set for national strike action

4/10/17

London

Supporting the general strike in Catalonia

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2