UNION ELECTIONS COMMENT of a few weeks ago `I concerning the election of union officials has brought in considerable correspondence from readers who have taken action either independently or collectively to rectify an obvious failing in the trade union .movement.
One writer tells me that after a struggle members of his union have instituted an almost watertight method for elections. Nominations are invited from branches and the candidates attend the headquarters and undergo a written examination and make a short statement on a subject chosen by the executive.
If the candidates pass this they are submitted to the full vote of the membership, and their record, usually confined to about 200 words, accompanies the ballot paper. This has given many men in the smaller branches a chance to win recognition, whereas in the past large branch nominees always swept the field, My. correspondent has just had the experience of such procedure, and as a result is now, along with two others, contesting for the position of general president of his union.
It may not be possible to win support for such a system tri every union, but these are helpful ideas. and no doubt will be taken up. One thing is certain, with the present mood of workers, it will he very hard for the inefficient or unpatriotic to obtain positions in the trade union movement if a careful check is made of their capabilities and their loyalties.
PEACE CONGRESS A TREMENDOUS amount of " ballyhoo is being spread from trades councils to union branches concerning the so-called World Congress for Peace to be held in Paris
in April. As usual the. orieinissrs call upon all democratic organisations to attend.
Looking at the names of those shown under the heading of Great Britain in the leaflet issued by the organisers, apart from self-professed Communist, J. B. S. Haldane, never was there a collection of so many fellow-travellers brought together in print.
It seems as if no one but the Communists and their sympathisers are interested in peace. And, of course, that is just the impression which they want created. I think the answer to it all is contained in a poster carried by Catholics during the East End
rally on Monday last. It said simply, " Follow God to Peace." No more was necessary. Various correspondents have asked what they can do about this peace drive " which certain trade unionists are propagating. We must all support action aimed at preventing war, but not at the price of losing liberty.
That's what it amounts to. We don't have to be politicians to realise that the battle for peace is being fought In the trade union branches. We shall have peace only when Christianity is being practiced as well as preached. The solution is in our hands and not in the hands of Marxists in Paris.
TEACHERS' ACTION SINCE the Communist Action
Group leaflet was issued some weeks back I have been inquiring into activities of Catholic teachers in the N.U.T. and other organisations. I find a sense of frustration among the younger teachers.
One told me that although the N.U.T. elections were discussed by one Catholic group no action was taken to see that suitable candidates were nominated. There were plenty' of willing teachers but very little direction.
This is a hard criticism and perhaps not altogether correct, but one thing is certain. if Catholic teachers want to serve their fellows in a pose. five manner it will mean making themselves felt in more circles than their own. Organisations are created to train and influence.
T.U. SPORTS IT is not often that one mentions sport in this paper, but it is a rather important contribution to the leisure of workers. Even if we are called to make a greater effort in our actions within the union branches. it is necessary to have a change. And again Christianity does not stop at the church door. We need just as many Christians on the playing fields.
The Amalgamated Engineering Union is holding its national athletics and cycling championships, 1949, at Herne Hill in July. There is plenty of time for entries and training. What about it?