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Builders’ union bars militant from election

MICK DOOLEY, a bricklayer who has been blacklisted and imprisoned for his militant trade union activities on construction sites in the 1990s, has been banned from standing in the building union UCATT’s election for the top post of General Secretary. This outrageous, bureaucratic diktat is an affront to every worker on the sites and every trade unionist.
Dooley forced the new election, last March, when he uncovered fraud (or incompetence) surrounding the previous ballot: half of UCATT’s membership, 70,000 workers, never received voting papers. Since then, the incumbent General Secretary, Alan Richie, has been suspended, while allegations of financial corruption are investigated.
But now a panel of three general council and three executive council members has barred both Mick and Richie from standing on the grounds that they are… “incompetent”. Talk about the kettle calling the pot black!
This decision is a blatant piece of gerrymandering, taking out the bureaucracy’s most vocal and consistent critic. The simultaneous barring of Richie is just camouflage – the officials knew they could not get away with only debarring Mick – and leaves the field clear for Richie’s main ally and fellow bureaucrat, Steve Murphy. How convenient.
Mick’s real crime was to dig around and start to root out corruption and malpractice in UCATT’s HQ. He has played an important role in the current campaign, led by rank and file bulletin Site Worker, to stop employers from cutting electricians’ pay rates by a third. Mick has also collaborated with Jerry Hicks of Unite and Workers Power in spreading the idea of building a Grass Roots Left.
Only last month, Mick told our Anticapitalism event that, “if elected general secretary I will fight for socialism” and pledged to “openly criticise other trade union leaders” should they sell out.
All UCATT members and other trade union bodies should pass resolutions objecting to the barring of Mick’s candidacy and demanding the vetting panel (what a disgusting concept in a workers’ organisation) reconvene and reverse its decision (there is no appeals procedure). They should also support Mick’s attempt to take out a High Court injunction to stop the election, while not relying on the bosses’ courts.
Our movement needs leaders like Mick, who are prepared to stand up to the bosses, take on the anti-union laws and name the traitors who betray workers in struggle.

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