Unions opt for a serious approach: Barrie Clement profiles the man who is to replace Norman Willis as TUC leader

Click to follow
THE MAN who will succeed the colourful but much-maligned Norman Willis as general secretary of the TUC is John Monks, his deputy.

The deadline for nominations is noon today, but Mr Monks, who in terms of personality is chalk to Mr Willis's cheese, is already home and dry for the pounds 50,000 a year post. Unlike the incumbent, Mr Monks, born in 1945, is a serious-minded bureaucrat, not given to bouts of gauche jocularity. A recurrent criticism is that he lacks 'oomph' for a job which not only requires a deft hand at administrative lever- pulling, but also needs someone who can capture the public's imagination.

Mr Monks, who has remained loyal to the Mr Willis amid a whispering campaign among union colleagues, is benefiting from a Buggins' turn culture at the TUC. The deputy general secretary has always been the heir apparent and he has secured a majority of union votes which will be deployed in his favour at the annual congress in September.

Unlike his predecessor, Mr Monks, a Nottingham University graduate, is able to speak on equal terms with ministers, senior civil servants and business leaders and enjoys ministerial contacts. He is a pragmatist on the right of the Labour Party and an enthusiastic European, whose Europhilia will be given fuller expression when the TUC opens an office in Brussels.

After two years in the electronics industry, Mr Monks joined the organisation department at Congress House in 1969 and was appointed assistant secretary in charge of its employment and manpower section in 1974. His present areas of responsibility include industrial relations, employment law and trade union organisation. He is on the board of the conciliation service Acas, and a governor of both the London School of Economics and the Policy Studies Institute.

(Photograph omitted)