Workers of the world, unite – in mutual discord and enmity
As an emblem of the fraternal harmony the trade union movement, the name of Britain’s biggest union, Unite, is as potent a symbol as any.
Given that the union was formed in a merger between the Transport and General Workers’ Union and Amicus – Latin for friend – the image that their amalgamation evokes is one of amity, accord and cooperation.
Perhaps, though, it’s time to look for a new name. Strife, maybe, or Discord, or even the Amalgamated Union of Loathing, Hatred, and Brothers Who Simply Cannot Bear To Be In The Same Room As One Another.
The friction between the two joint general secretaries – Tony Woodley from the T&G and Derek Simpson from Amicus – has been well documented, as has the fragility of the troubled merger.
Now, however, their enmity has plumbed new depths after Mr Simpson chose to liken union organisers to SS troops and cheerleaders in ra-ra skirts – earning himself a public rebuke from Mr Woodley.