Dawn Stuart is a left trade union activist working for Belfast City Council. She is currently standing for the General Executive Council of the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) on a programme of union democracy. This is especially important since the bureaucratic removal of Mick O'Reilly and Eugene McGlone from their positions in the Irish region. The following is her election statement:
My name is Dawn Stuart. I am an activist working for the Belfast City Council. I have been active in the union for many years and am proud of the role our union has played in our society, that is up until recently. Four months ago the General Secretary attacked the very fabric of the Union by removing our Regional Secretary and our Regional Organiser, without reason or explanation, humiliated our Region.
Both these Officers have good track records in the union - to treat them this way is a disgrace, to do it in the members' name is unforgivable. Since their suspension our union has suffered - we are the laughing stock of the movement. My employer taunts all our activists about the abuse of the procedures and asks can they have the same.
I am being encouraged to run in this election to highlight how undemocratic our union has become. How demoralised our active members are at the behaviour of the leadership. If like me and those who members ordinary everyday people who depend on the union to stand up for them, you believe that we should be better than the worst behaved employer, then I know you will want to support my candidature.
I am asking that you bring this letter to the attention of your branch for their consideration and that you will support me.
Since the Regional Organiser has been suspended minority groups in our Region have lost their voice. No-one has shown any interest in these groups. No one is prepared to demonstrate that the TGWU is interested in real social issues. Instead all we are offered are platitudes. The facility of a telephone help line in the Regional Office that the Regional Organiser pioneered has been closed down.
It is no surprise that ordinary members have picketed our offices in the Region. We have also picketed the last GEC meeting to highlight these issues. By and large our picket was well received but there are still some members of the GEC who fail to see the need to protect the lay-democracy of the union.
These are the same GEC members who actively worked against the courageous delegates from this Region who fought at the BDC to have the matter discussed at what is supposed to be our conference. You will also know that not only did these people intimidate our delegates to follow the lead from the platform, they stooped low enough to have some Regional Secretaries vote in a crucial vote!
Our members in this Region will succumb to threats or intimidation. We will not stand idly by and allow the destruction of the union in Ireland by the so-called leadership supported only by a small band of career TRADE UNION officials. We will fight to maintain this union in and its integrity from attacks no matter how they are disguised.
This is not just a problem for Region, we are all in this together the fight is on for the very survival of our union as a major social force in society, whether it is in Belfast or Bradford. Neither I nor, the people who support me want to see a shrinking T&G we want the union visible. We do not want empty offices redundant officers and staff. We want our Union to grow.
Should you need to contact me you may do so at the address or telephone no. given. [omitted for web]
Again I urge you to support me by using your nomination to help put me, a young woman onto the GEC to represent our Trade Group, below are the details needed to complete the nomination form.
Thanking you in anticipation.