Union missing-cash inquiry

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The Independent Online
THE LAST power base of the hard left in the Labour Party came under attack yesterday when the country's largest industrial union launched an inquiry into alleged political intimidation on Merseyside and financial irregularities involving more than pounds 350,000, writes Barrie Clement.

The executive of the Transport and General Workers' Union unanimously decided to investigate the union's North-west region and the activities of three un- named officials.

The decision was seen by some as a means of 'cleansing' the union of left-wingers influenced by the Militant Tendency, ahead of a merger with the GMB general union to form what will be a highly influential affiliate of the Labour Party.

One of the most serious accusations involves the disappearance of pounds 53,000 from the European Commission. The cash had been secured for the funding of a special conference of shop stewards in Dublin, without the knowledge of national officials. Albert Blyghton, the union's national legal secretary, was appointed yesterday to lead the inquiry attempting to trace the money, withdrawn by a union official.

Another accusation involves a three-year dispute at a Merseyside company called Tanks & Drums, during which more than pounds 300,000 in strike pay was disbursed.

An unspecified amount of money was also paid to the union by a company for advertisements displayed by taxis driven by T & G members. That money has disappeared.

The dominant 'soft left' group on the union's general executive wants to know whether the missing money was used for 'political adventurism' by the hard left, to line individuals' pockets, or both.