Monday, 1 March 2010

The Green... Green... Workbenches of Westminster...

About 25 years or so ago I remember attending somewhere in London a T&G broad left meeting, held in a school, and sitting in front of me was a well dressed Jack Dromey. So no prizes for guessing who Jack is then, he is the other half or husband to Harriet Harman the deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Jack also happens to be the Party treasurer and works fulltime as deputy general secretary for the Unite union, which is the relatively new branding of the old T&G.

I also remember attending on one occasion the picket line at Grunwick in Brent that would have been 33 years ago. Jack Dromey was then the Secretary of Brent Trades Council and a leading player in that famous dispute. George Ward the Grunwick Boss heaped vilification on young Jack as I recall. However with the passage of time people change, Jack made himself a name rising up the Trade Union ladder in fact becoming a part of the Labour aristocracy and from those very humble beginnings.

Now the reason I’m blogging about Jack is because I’ve just learnt that he has been selected to contest a Birmingham seat for New Labour at the next general election, the party has announced, he is to stand for the Erdington the seat vacated by Sion Simon who stood down earlier this month to be Birmingham's first elected mayor.

Jack is quoted by the BBC as saying that he was "honoured" to be chosen and had been working for social justice in the city for the past 25 years.

Labour held Erdington with a majority of 9,575 in the last general election.

Well I suppose with an election looming in the very near future for a new General Secretary of Unite, maybe Jack decided it’s time to move on to new pastures, and non as greener and lucrative as the green benches of Westminster!

The Dromey File

Jack Dromey (born 21 September 1948) is a British trade unionist, Deputy General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union and Treasurer of the Labour Party. He was for some time the Secretary of the Brent Trades Council, including when it organised the Grunwick Dispute in 1977. He is married to Harriet Harman, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

Dromey was elected Deputy General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, having lost the 2003 election for General Secretary to Tony Woodley by a wide margin. Dromey is active in the Labour Party, serving on its National Executive Committee (NEC).

Dromey first came to public prominence for his involvement in the strike at the Grunwick film processing laboratory in the mid-1970s. The mostly female Asian workforce at Grunwick went on strike to demand that company boss George Ward recognise their union; instead, Ward dismissed the strikers, leading to a year long confrontation involving mass picketing and some violence. The strike was unsuccessful and ended without any concession at all from Grunwick.

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