BARRY Reamsbottom's attempted coup was about more than who controls one union. Reamsbottom is one of the vice-presidents of the Trade Union Committee for European and Transatlantic Understanding (TUCETU). The TUCETU is an undemocratic right wing faction.
Other vice-presidents are: Sir Ken Jackson, toppled leader of Amicus-AEEU; Lord Bill Jordan, former leader of the AEEU; Eric Hammond, former leader of the EETPU electricians' union; and Doug McAvoy, current leader of the NUT teachers' union. The TUCETU pushes pro-NATO and pro-US ideas inside the trade union movement. Peter Robinson, the TUCETU director, sent out a circular to the media, MPs, lords and TUCETU members during the elections for the PCS national executive and the Amicus general secretary elections.
'Sir Ken Jackson and Barry Reamsbottom together with their moderate colleagues are fighting elections to ensure moderate control and direction for each of their unions,' Robinson said. 'Any support you can provide in your own area among AEEU and PCS members will be appreciated. In view of other recent trade union leadership and executive elections it is vital that we do all we can to reinforce the moderates' role in these two vitally important unions.' With the circular he included an article from the Economist magazine which said that if the Moderates win in the PCS, 'the plan is to keep Barry Reamsbottom in the job until 2004 and sideline Mr Serwotka'.
Most of New Labour's defence team is linked to the TUCETU network. Junior defence minister John Spellar is a former EETPU official and a member of the TUCETU. He was also a key figure in Jackson's recent campaign. Peter Mandelson has written a pamphlet for the TUCETU.
The foreign office gives over £100,000 a year to the TUCETU. James Shea, NATO's director of information and press, has written two pamphlets for TUCETU. TUCETU leaders took part in the Congress of Istanbul in 1998, organised by the American Enterprise Institute.
Topics included 'Getting capitalism right' and 'Broadening the Atlantic perspective: the politics of oil, water and pipelines'. Guest speakers included former Tory ministers Michael Portillo and Michael Howard, Bush adviser Richard Perle and Labour's Lord Gilbert, a vice-chair of the TUCETU and deputy defence minister. Sponsoring companies included arms firms Lockheed Martin and ABW, and drugs multinational Pfizer.
Peter Robinson chaired a session at the Congress of Istanbul. He runs the NUT's education centre at Stoke Rochford. He was a member of the European policy group of the Washington Strategic and International Studies in the mid-1980s.
Socialist Worker revealed in January this year that Mike Power, a senior TUC official, had been involved in a plot to stop left wingers being elected in the RMT rail union and the CWU postal workers' union. Power met Barry Reamsbottom before the general secretary election. Who planned to 'ensure moderate control' in the PCS?
What are the TUCETU's plans for future elections, such as those in the TGWU and GMB general unions next year?