A DISGRUNTLED former Transport and General Workers' Union official yesterday led a group of nearly 100 people who stormed and then occupied the union's national computer centre in Newcastle upon Tyne, writes Barrie Clement.
The man leading the attack was John Farrell, 47, a former T&G official on Merseyside who was dismissed by the union's executive last month after alleged irregularities over funds. The demonstrators, most of whom are from the North-west demanded his reinstatement and occupied the building for 10 hours.
The union leadership said that employees were assaulted during the occupation and forcibly removed from the building, although Mr Farrell's supporters claim there was no violence.
Leaders of the union say that funds, some of which was ostensibly paid out in the form of strike pay, were siphoned off to finance community politics. The T&G launched an investigation into the alleged misuse of pounds 4m, although members of the union's far left argued that it was all part of a political 'witch-hunt'.
Bill Morris, general secretary of the union, denounced the raid and sit-in as 'violent immoral and unlawful'.