normanstrike

Posts Tagged ‘Westoe Lodge Committee’

103. Wednesday October 10th, 1984.

In Uncategorized on October 9, 2009 at 1:42 pm

We had a union meeting this morning which showed the extent of the members disatisfaction with the Lodge officials. We had to elect a member to sit on the Durham Area Executive Committee, a post traditionally filled by one of the senior officials. Accordingly both the Chairman, John Chapman, and the Treasurer, Bill Jerry, were nominated by the members of the committee. A rank and file member, Ed Malcolm, was nominated from the floor, and even though he is a soft left careerist, I voted for him along with the majority in the hall. The result was absolutely brilliant; Chapman got 15 votes, Jerry 6, and Ed got 54 votes! The lads were elated by this success and we all enjoyed the looks of utter shock on the stage. It was excellent, and a picket stood up to explain to the platform exactly why they’d been given this vote of no confidence. The fact that they never appear on picket lines, Tommy Wilson excepted, was given as the main reason, with the picket saying that you can’t lead from a comfortable office! Man after man stood up to attack them, ending with a motion proposing that every picket of Westoe men must be attended by two committee men, and their places in the office filled by men banned from picketing. The Chairman, John Chapman, got up and made a personal attack on me that was full of vitriol, probably because I was the only man he knew who was banned from all picket lines, and because he thought, wrongly, that I was behind the attacks. He refused to accept the motion, saying he would have to ask his fellow committee men if they wanted to go on picket lines!! At this all hell broke loose and without hesitation the useless bastard closed the meeting, and they all walked off the stage in a huff. We all complained loudly and bitterly, shouting for them to return, but they didn’t. The lads were furious but also jubilant at getting Ed elected.

The whole meeting was a perfect example of bureaucracy at work but at least the men now know, again, where the real power lies. Brilliant, and we must build on it at the next meeting and censure the Chairman for his undemocratic conduct.

The NUM have been fined £200,000 for refusing to comply with the Tory courts, and Scargill has been fined £1,000 for contempt.He has said that neither fine will be paid. Good for him!

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55. Tuesday June 12th, 1984.

In Uncategorized on June 12, 2009 at 10:27 am

Today has been the most humiliating experience of my life! I had been summonsed to appear in front of the whole Lodge Committee to explain my ‘forgery’ of the Lodge Secretary’s signature. I was forced to wait outside the committee room for twenty minutes with my stomach churning and my nerves on edge wondering what was going to happen. When I was eventually called in I had to face them all whilst the Secretary again explained the seriousness of my action and how it couldn’t be allowed to go unpunished. It was like a kangaroo court and in my opinion they had decided I was guilty before I went in. I explained exactly what I’d done and why I did it, pointing out that nowhere on the letter was either my name or address so there was no way I could possibly profit from it. I had only been trying to raise funds for the union.

My explanation fell on deaf ears and I was totally shocked when Tommy Wilson launched a personal attack of such a vicious nature I felt quite scared. He accused me of trying to overthrow the Lodge Committee and subvert the minds of the membership with my ‘lunatic propaganda’. He attacked the SWP and said I was their puppet, their ‘agent of destruction’. It would have been laughable if it wasn’t so serious. I was ordered to wait outside whilst they made their decision. The bastards made me wait another twenty minutes as I wondered what they were going to do. It was terrible!

I was called back in and had to stand in front of them whilst the sentence was pronounced. I am to appear in front of the whole Durham Executive on a charge of ‘Fraudulent Conversion’ which could result in my expulsion from the NUM! If Tommy Wilson has his way that is exactly what will happen.In addition I had to hand back my letter of authorisation to collect funds for the union and have been banned from ever collecting funds for the union again. I was, and still am, stunned! Before I left I gave them a cheque for £120 I had received from Colin Barker in Manchester, and made out to the Lodge, and added sarcastically that perhaps they didn’t want any money I had collected. Tommy Wilson snarled that I should ‘stuff it up my arse’, but Slater was more diplomatic and thanked me, adding that it was a shame I’d spoilt myself.

I’ve made my decision to stuff the lot of them, union and SWP! Why should I stick my neck out? I’m going to stay at home and spend more time with Kath and the girls. I’ve done my bit and the reward has not been worth the fuckin’ effort! I feel totally isolated and betrayed and it’s not going to happen again. A couple of comrades have phoned and urged me to attend the union meeting tomorrow but it’s not going to happen. I can’t face giving those bastards the satisfaction of seeing my face as their decision is read out. To be honest I feel too ashamed!