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Geordie gets top job

PUBLISHED: 22:16 13 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:32 03 March 2010

FROM a shift as a portworker to the hallowed halls of Westminster... it's all in a day's work for Geordie Landles.

While Mr Landles, senior union convenor at the Port of Felixstowe, is no stranger to the demands of representing workers, he now has a few more to look after than those at Britain's premier container terminal.

By Richard Cornwell

FROM a shift as a portworker to the hallowed halls of Westminster... it's all in a day's work for Geordie Landles.

While Mr Landles, senior union convenor at the Port of Felixstowe, is no stranger to the demands of representing workers, he now has a few more to look after than those at Britain's premier container terminal.

For he now has the interests of more than 900,000 workers firmly in his mind after being elected as national chairman of the Transport and General Workers Union, Britain's biggest general union.

Mr Landles, the first East Anglian to hold the post in the union's 80-year history, told The Evening Star it was a "great honour" and he was really looking forward to the challenge.

It would make his busy life even more hectic but he was sure he could cope and there were a number of issues he was seeking action upon.

"At night I am having dinner with the Chancellor and the next morning I am back working at the Port of Felixstowe – that's the reality of the situation but also part of the enjoyment and the challenge," he said.

"Remaining a working docker will allow me to bring the insight of ordinary working people to bear on the big issues confronting the Labour movement.

"I am extremely proud that our members have bestowed this great honour upon me and I trust that I will make a difference for people at work."

His years of experience as a worker will enable him to bring the voice of the grass roots straight to the top so the views of the ordinary people will be heard.

"We must never lose sight of those issues which affect our members – those who work at the sharp end and really know what does affect them and make a difference in their lives," he said.

Mr Landles was unanimously elected as chairman by the T&G's executive council.

Originally from Jarrow, Co Durham, he has been a portworker at Felixstowe, which employs around 2,000 people, for 30 years.

He has been a senior shop steward at the port for over 25 years fighting for better pay and conditions for the workers, has been a member of the T&G's executive for 18 years and is the longest serving member of the T&G's ruling body. He is also a member of the TUC General Council.

Mr Landles said one of his key immediate tasks was ensuring a smooth handover to the union's new leadership as General Secretary Bill Morris, and Deputy General Secretary Margaret Prosser, will be retiring within the next 18 months.

WEBLINK

www.tgwu.org.uk


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