Socialist Worker

TGWU elections

Issue No. 1872

THE ELECTION for deputy general secretary of the TGWU union, one of Britain's most important unions, is taking place.

Three candidates are standing: Jack Dromey, Barry Camfield and Graham Stevenson.

Jack Dromey has traditionally been the most associated with New Labour. Among other things, Dromey is married to solicitor general Harriet Harman.

However, he is doing everything possible to distance himself from Downing Street and reinvent himself as a left wing firebrand.

His election address talks of how he led Asian workers into struggle at Grunwick's in the 1970s and how he led millions of council workers into a strike last year.

But large numbers of union activists remain suspicious of Dromey because of his past record.

Graham Stevenson is the candidate most associated with the new general secretary Tony Woodley. He says he is the only true Woodley supporter standing and emphasises that he has never been a Blairite.

Barry Camfield talks of building a union that fights for its members over issues like pensions and employment rights.

Long term TGWU member Dave Sherry explained the limited choices available to rank and file members: 'Jack Dromey is still associated with Blair in the minds of many union activists.

'The problem is that having two candidates standing against him means the vote is split and he could scoop a victory.

'The other problem is that while Dromey used to be seen as close to Blair, the other two also strongly support the Labour Party, albeit a more Old Labour one. So the candidates can end up looking the same.

'While they talk about reclaiming old Labour values, union members have to build a real fight over low pay, long hours and pensions.'

The ballot closes on 17 October.

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Article information

Sat 11 Oct 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1872
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