`C.H.' industrial Correspondent
ACCORDING to trade union sources, the Communist faction among the seamen is energetically backing the candidature of Mr. Jim Slater, Tyneside leader of the 1960 unofficial strike, for the post of general secretary of the 62,000-strong National Union of Seamen. He has secured six nominations.
Voting began on March 12 and will end on September 11, to give members at sea a chance to get their votes in.
Mr. Slater has denied that he is himself a Communist Party member.
The other three candidates in the election are Mr. W. Hogarth (acting general secretary), with 35 nominations; Mr. R. Arnold (Scottish district secretary), with nine nominations; and Mr. W. B. McDaid (district secretary for S. and S.W. England), with six nominations.
The post of general secretary has been left vacant by the death of Jim Scott, who, elected after the 1960 strike, achieved so much for improved wages and conditions, and for the streamlining of the union's own efficiency.
Communists are working hard for control of the National Union of Seamen, and their ultimate success would offer ideal opportunities of causing maximum damage to the British economy. Britain as an island relies on her exports and imports-and that means ships.
The Communists are going all out for control, too, of the unofficial Reform Movement, which led the 1960 strike. £8,000 has been collected for the Reform Movement over the past 12 months by the Australian Seamen's Union, which is Communist-controlled, and is affiliated to the World Federation of Trade Unions,