Socialist Worker

Friends fall out

Issue No. 1796

TONY BLAIR'S favourite right wing trade union leader, Sir Ken Jackson of Amicus, threatened to disaffiliate the union from the TUC last week. A leaked letter has revealed that this has caused a massive row between the AEEU and MSF sections of the merged Amicus union.

Roger Lyons, leader of the MSF section, wrote a letter to Jackson which said that MSF executive members 'are unhappy with suggestions that Amicus may leave the TUC'. Lyons' letter also refuted allegations from the AEEU that the MSF pension fund was bankrupt.

He said steps must be taken to 're-establish the trust and confidence which has been shattered by the AEEU briefing' to journalists. The rows come as the battle for the leadership of the AEEU section, due to be held in June, hots up. The man who is challenging Jackson, Derek Simpson, condemned the move to disaffiliate from the TUC.

He said, 'It's very strange that, having spent £1 million on a campaign and roadshow to persuade us to vote yes to the merger, we have spent time since saying how much we distrust them.' The right wing in the union are campaigning hard to undermine Derek Simpson's campaign.

He has to get a minimum of 15 AEEU section branches to nominate him to stand for general secretary. Six full time officials of the AEEU, not usually present, turned up at a branch meeting in west London last week to try to stop Simpson being nominated. After a heated debate the vote to nominate Derek Simpson lost by just 25 to 24 votes.

A defeat for Jackson would be a blow to Blair and New Labour. Every activist in Amicus should throw themselves into Simpson's campaign.

Join Derek Simpson's campaign-phone 0114 236 1419 or e-mail [email protected]

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Sat 20 Apr 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1796
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