DESPITE the almost universal expectation of Communist defeat in the Electrical Trades Union General Secretary election, Mr. F. L. Haxell, a member of the Communist Party executive, defeated Glasgow Catholic Mr. J. T. Byrne, a full-time union official, by just over 1,000 votes.
The votes of 100 of the union's 700 branches were disqualified.
Fr. Paul Crane, S.J., Editor of "Christian Order" and exsecretary of the Catholic Social Guild, analyses the situation for CATHOLIC HERALD readers, asks some questions and suggests some practical steps to be taken.
NOTE: One out of six members of the ETU voted in the election for the post of General Secretary of the Union. This is an indication of gross apathy amongst the rank and file. RESULT: Mr. Haxell was declared elected with 19,611 votes against 18,577 to Mr. Byrne. Five years ago Mr. flaxen had a majority of more than 13p00 over Mr. Byrne. The difference is a great tribute to those who have fought against Communism in the ETU. WE ASK: Why were the votes of 100 out of 700 ETU Branches disqualified on the grounds of minor administrative irregularities? We have reasons for asking in view of the fact that, according to the Press, in 27 of these disqualified Branches the voting was 2,984 to 584 against Mr. Haxell.
Are we to conclude that the same story would be repeated in the other disqualified Branches? In other words, if the disqualifications had not taken place, there seems reason to believe that Mr. Byrne. the staunch anti-Communist, would have won.
If the ETU Executive Committee is true to form, we may have to wait several months — until the publication of the ETU Executive minutes — to receive further information on the above.
AT ONCE individual ETU members should send in protests to their Executives and letters should be sent in from ETU Branches, seeking information as to whether their votes were acceptable or declared null and void,
It is up to men of good will in the ETU to take this action.
WHAT LS NEEDED is an investigation into the affairs of the ETU by an outside body. preferably the TUC. The TUC should take this action on the ground that the ad Continued on page 8, col. 6