12 Days Remaining

Friday 26th
posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

Serwotka condemns papers exposing crackdown on Macreadie

A PUBLIC inquiry into the Thatcher government’s interference in trade unions could shine a light on “chilling” attempts to take out leftwingers in Civil Service unions, Mark Serwotka said yesterday.

Delegates at the Civil Service union PCS conference plan to write to the new prime minister following next month’s general election to demand the full story behind the targeting of official John Macreadie.

The Morning Star exclusively revealed in March that Mr Macreadie was the subject of an extensive government file.

The paper exposed how Thatcher’s administration plotted to undermine him following his election to general secretary of the Civil and Public Service Association (CPSA) — a predecessor to PCS — in 1986.

However, Mr Macreadie’s election was annulled by the courts. But, before that, the government considered barring him from official premises on grounds of his left-wing political beliefs through an “established procedure.”

He was then elected as the union’s deputy leader the following year.

Newly declassified papers, which the Star uncovered at the National Archives, also revealed that senior CPSA officials in the union’s “moderate” group met the government and discussed the rise of the Militant tendency, whose members included Mr Macreadie.

Moving the motion on behalf of the union’s executive, current PCS leader Mr Serwotka said: “These papers may not come as a surprise to people who have been battling for many, many years, but they are chilling.”

He said they provided “confirmation and proof” of “collaboration” between the moderate group and the government.

“This is a very important issue. It’s not just about what this history tells us, but what is relevant to the union today.”

He said the union must consider how existing public inquiries, including the Pitchford inquiry into undercover policing, could incorporate investigating the state’s interference in the Civil Service unions.

And he said that the union should also consider calling for a fresh inquiry on the subject.

DWP Birmingham North delegate Sian Ruddick said: “We knew the moderates were corrupt, we knew they fiddled elections, we knew they had links to groups that were a CIA front.

“During the miners’ strike [the late then-CPSA president] Kate Losinska popped to her friend Margaret Thatcher’s house to have cups of tea.”

The motion passed at PCS conference noted that the “parallels with today are clear” and said recent government attacks on trade unions were an attempt to “complete Thatcher’s work.”