Bifu leader attacks softly-softly Blair over TSB merger
Monday 20 November 1995
Tony Blair's softly-softly approach towards the financial establishment came under fire yesterday from the newly elected leader of Britain's biggest banking union.
In a decisive break with the intently loyalist approach of his predecessor - and the present acquiescence of other union leaders - Ed Sweeney expressed his "incredulity and frustration" over Mr Blair's failure to intervene in the proposed merger of Lloyds and the TSB. Mr Sweeney, who takes over as general secretary of the 130,000-strong Banking Insurance and Finance Union in March, called on the Labour leadership to follow the lead of the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Nationalists, and to back a reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.
Mr Blair had told the union that he will only pronounce on the merger after completing consultations with management. Mr Sweeney pointed out that it had been several weeks since the proposed deal was announced and 10,000 jobs were under threat.
In an interview, he also set out for the Independent his vision of a new super union for the finance sector, which would include the three remaining staff associations at the clearing banks and organisations representing employees at building societies and insurance companies.
Mr Sweeney, elected last week by a margin of three to one, declared his intention to oppose the "short-termism" of the City using Parliamentary lobbying and industrial action if necessary. Unlike the present general secretary, Leif Mills, Mr Sweeney seems to feel free to speak out about the shortcomings of the Labour leadership and senior management. The general secretary-elect believes the big financial companies and high street banks have moved away from a customer and service-led approach to a policy based on the enrichment of shareholders. He alleged that low staff morale was accepted, and even positively encouraged, by some companies.
The new Bifu leader is the first elected general secretary of the union - Mr Mills, was appointed before laws prescribing ballots were introduced, and remained in office unopposed.
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 3 Trevor Noah: Jon Stewart's replacement faces online criticism over 'anti-Semitic' tweets
- 4 Turkey power cut: Prime Minister says nationwide blackout could be caused by terrorists
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Costa Concordia: Shipment of Mob drugs was hidden aboard cruise liner when it hit rocks off Italian coast, investigators say
Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
University of Cambridge: Remains of 1,300 scholars are found under building
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Turkey power cut: Prime Minister says nationwide blackout could be caused by terrorists
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
iJobs Money & Business
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...
Circa £45,000-£50,000 + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ac...