The Plough is the e-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party and the issue of 13 February 2004 had an interesting account of elections within the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA), the largest trade union in Northern Ireland.
It criticised the NIPSA leadership and reported the bid by a far-left coalition, known as Time for Change, to take over the union.
NIPSA activists have responded to the union leadership's poor management of the civil service dispute by mounting a campaign to get control of the union's ruling General Council.The coalition 'Time for Change' has put up a number of candidates, on a grass roots campaign, and with a surprisingly tightinternal discipline structure.'Time for Change' includes the best left-wing, anti-bureaucratic, elements of the NIPSA active members. It is an alliance of independent socialists in concert with members of various progressive politicial parties, including the IRSP.It is vitally important that 'Time for Change' win this internal battle.
The languge of the report is illustrative of the mindset of the far-left - this was a coalition with 'tight internal disciplne', set on an 'internal battle' 'to get control of the union's ruling General Council'.
And who was it that was seeking to get control of the union? The phrase 'progressive political parties' included not only the IRSP but also the Socialist Party and this was essentially a Trotskyist coalition. The Plough then listed the slate of far-left 'Time for Change' candidates: Carol Barnett, Brian Booth, Brian Crawford, Paul Dale, Brian Forbes, Carmel Gates, Dooley Harte, Gerry Largey, Kevin Lawrenson, Maria Morgan, Janette Murdock, Patrick Mulholland, Ricki Reid and John Toal.
The following week The Plough reported the outcome of the NIPSA election and the fact that they had gained control of the union.
VICTORY FOR LEFT IN NIPSA ELECTIONS
As trailed last week in the Plough, the results of NIPSA's General Council elections were published on Tuesday (February 17). They represent a massive success for the left coalition 'Time for Change.' Of the 14 Time for Change candidates standing, nine were successful, and with the support of the non-aligned, the grouping can now look forward to a year in control of the largest union in the north.Carmel Gates, a member of the Socialist Party, went on to become NIPSA president and when we compare that list with the current leadership we see that Maria Morgan is now NIPSA president and John Toal is NIPSA treasurer. Following on from the previous post this shows how the far-left has taken over the trade union.