LEFT ACTIVISTS in the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) were hoping that Matt Wrack would be the latest candidate to win a major union election against the current leadership this week. The result of the election for assistant general secretary was due this Friday.
Strict rules on canvassing mean that no FBU member is allowed to solicit support for a candidate in writing.
But various national newspapers have reported how in the build up to the election and during it, the FBU nationally has highlighted John McGhee — who is seen in the union as the leadership’s preferred candidate.
“John McGhee is not as publicly associated with the disastrous handling of the pay campaign as general secretary Andy Gilchrist,” says one London activist.
“But he was part of the leadership that threw away a wonderful opportunity to win and instead has left us with a defensive struggle against attacks on our conditions and on the service. Many of those who are most angry at the way the leadership handled the dispute have thrown their support behind Matt Wrack.
“A victory for him, or a substantial vote, as we head to the election for general secretary will be a real step forward for the rank and file in the union. Of course, it won’t solve all the problems firefighters and control room staff face. But it will be a step towards bringing the union back to the members and in boosting confidence at the grassroots to resist.”