The Trades Union Congress in Blackpool: Electricians are focus for bitterness

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The Independent Online
THE TUC yesterday cleared the way for the re-admission of the electricians' union, but not without signs of the old bitterness which once tore the movement apart, writes Barrie Clement.

Only the hard-line National Union of Mineworkers led by Arthur Scargill stood out against a statement prepared by the General Council of the TUC which provides for a compromise.

The National Union of Journalists agreed to set aside a motion which would have erected barriers to the re-affiliation of the electricians' union, which was expelled from the TUC four years ago.

Agreeing to 'remit' the proposition for the sake of unity, Colin Bourne, of the NUJ, received the first standing ovation of the congress for denouncing the electricians, now part of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union. The electricians had taken into membership 'every tiny scab union they could lay their hands on' since they were expelled for refusing to abandon two single union deals, he said.

Introducing the debate, Norman Willis, the TUC general secretary, said the AEEU ballot would effectively form a referendum among a million workers on the value of TUC membership.