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Was Monday 29th April the day democracy died in the ATGWU?

Sean Smyth • 8/06/2002

On Monday, 29th April 02, Mick O’Reilly and Eugene Mc Glone, top ATGWU officers in region 3 (Ireland) learnt via the media that Bill Morris General Secretary ATGWU had sent each a letter informing them of their summary dismissal.

Mick O’Reilly Regional Secretary and Eugene Mc Glone Regional Organiser were leading officers for the ATGWU’s Region 3 (Ire) until their suspension, by letter from the General Secretary, in June last year.

The General Secretary’s handling of the disciplinary proceedings has been criticised internally, not least by the Broad Left grouping on the unions General Executive Council.

Firstly the two officers were suspended without any notification of possible charges (only 4 weeks later were they presented with a dossier of minor complaints and squabbles among members and officers in the Region, none of which directly bore on any decisions made by either of them).

At the ATGWU Biennial conference in Bournemouth in July last year there was uproar among the lay delegates as news of suspensions filtered out.
So much so that a challenge to BDC standing orders from the floor was averted by only a handful of votes.

GEC members have tried in vain to raise their concerns at subsequent meetings, particularly ay the extraordinarily long drawn out disciplinary procedure, but also at the refusal of the General Secretary to allow any discussions or comment at GEC about the two officers, their alleged misdemeanours or indeed any issue arising in Region 3, which might have a possible bearing on the case.

Martin Mayer, GEC member for passenger services, said he was appalled and saddened by the decision which he did not believe was justified.

He said there is concern within the union at the disciplinary process used by the General Secretary, which effectively kept the GEC - the ATGWU’s governing body - in the dark, even though the union’s Rules give the council express authority to appoint, suspend and dismiss officers, not the General Secretary.

He criticised too the manner in which the dismissal had been carried out, by rumour and press speculation.

Their last disciplinary hearing in London was as long ago as February and the two officers were not even summoned back to London to receive the decision in person from the General Secretary.

Martin Mayer said that this decision by the General Secretary will be seriously challenged not just by the two senior officers themselves but by a wide range of activists and officers across the whole union. At the officers annual meeting in Eastbourne on 23rd May only nine from more than two hundred officers refused to support a motion of support for Mick and Eugene. Not only did they support the two sacked colleagues but have invited them both to address a specially convened meeting to be held in Birmingham on June 23td where the two will be given the chance to tell their colleagues and the newly elected Deputy General Secretary Tony Woodley the facts about there case.

Mick O’Reilly and Eugene McGlone had justly earned respect for their diligence and enthusiasm and for their progressive trade union views, which led them to speak out at times for the working class against established views.

From what has leaked out about the charges and the highly politicised climate in which these officers were suspended, there will be astonishment and disbelief at the dismissals from the wider ATGWU membership when the details are finally publicised".

Especially now that 24 ATGWU members have been sacked at the international airport because their incompetent full-time official Bro Joe Mc Cusker f*****-up there strike action





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My friends, it is solidarity of labor we want. We do not want to find fault with each other, but to solidify our forces and say to each other:
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Index: Current Articles

13 June 2002


Other Articles From This Issue:


Interface Violence

Billy Mitchell

What Chance Socialism?
Anthony McIntyre


Was Monday 29th April the day democracy died in the ATGWU?
Sean Smyth


9 June 2002


Pleading Guilty

Anthony McIntyre


A Missed Opportunity for Segregation

Liam O'Ruairc


Working Together

Marian Price (IRPWA)


After the General Elections, What Future for Sinn Féin?

Bob Shepherd


The War on Terrorism & the Irish Factor

MN Kelly



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