BATTLE FOR UNION POSTS
`C.H.' Industrial Correspondent
SCOTLAND has become the focus of a twofold build-up of subversive forces. Not only is the Trotskyist campaign to capture the Young Socialists, especially strong north of the border, but the Communists, with their grip on the Electrical Trades Union broken, are also going flat out to hold their Scottish posifons.
Their long-standing control of the Scottish area of the mineworkers' union has recently been seriously challenged in two important positions, when Mr. Alex Eadie contested the elections for president and vice-president of the Scottish N.U.M.
He lost the former to Mr. Alex Moffat, hut came very close to victory in what has been called a David and Goliath contest. He lost the latter to Communist Party executive member Mr. Mick McGahey (a lapsed Catholic) but only after a campaign of almost unprecedented vilification throughout the Scottish coalfields.
Alex Eadie, Labour Party executive member. I.abour Councillor, and Justice of the Peace. has been labelled Communist, Catholic Actionist. Freemason and Orangeman. In fact. he is none of these. He is one of those nonCatholics who has commanded widespread respect among Catholic trade unionists and Labour Party men in Scotland.
His challenge was taken with the utmost seriousness by the Communists, who engaged an extra full-time organiser for the Scottish mines to deal with it. Religious bigotry. among Catholics and Protestants alike. unhappily, also played a leading role in Mr. Eadie's defeat.
Mr. Eadie's defeat by Mr McGahcy came as the result of a financial vote. Under this system. union members go to a branch meeting to record their vote. Whoever obtains the majority of votes in that branch is credited with the full financial income of the branch derived from subscriptions.
And so it was that, in Ayrshirc. where 13 branches supported Mr Feline. and only 10 branches supported Mr. McGahey. the aggregate result favoured the latter; for while, on the financial vote, Mr. McGahey received £1,668, Mr. Eadie received only £1,223.
In the Killoch branch. the financial vote went to Mr. McGahey on the casting vote of the chairman.
In Valleyfield brunch. Mr. McGithey's supporters started at eight o'clock in the morning of voting day to round up members to attend the branch meeting. At Polkem met branch. his supporters arranged transport for members to go to the voting meeting.
The Scottish N.U.M., incidentally, gives financial support to organisations proscribed by the Labour Party. including the People's Press Printing Society. publishers of the "Daily Worker '. In general, Communist Party leaders are showing scant sympathy for the Trotskyists, but, in the Electrical Trades Union, a Communist-cum-Trotskyist faction is already laying its plans to wrest control of the union's executive from Mr. John Byrne and his supporters in the September 1963 elections.
1 he decision to have a Campaign Committee for each area was taken at a meeting of 120 ETU members in London last month. It was addressed by Mr. Frank Haxell, the deposed general secretary of the E.T.U. The faction is known as the E.T.U. Greater London Campaign Committee.