Lenehan Pete

Peter Lenahan


Hailing from St Helen’s, Peter Lenahan was a leading shop-steward in the building industry on Merseyside in the 70s and 80s.  As a long-term unemployed worker, he was on both the 1981 and 1983 Peoples’ Marches for Jobs. In 1983, he noted that: "Compared with 1981, unemployment is not only much more widespread, it is much more entrenched. This time, in my experience people don't feel they see anyway out of the situation. There was definitely a widespread lack of confidence in our people as we came down through the country. That's why the March was so important in the battle of ideas." ['Communist Focus', June 1983, p6)]


An activist in the Union of Construction and Allied Trades and Technicians, by the late 1980s he had become a full-time organiser for the union in the north west. Lenahan probably joined many thousands of Communist Party members exiting the CPGB as it went through its final, odd phases in the late 1980s, before dissolving in 1991. But Lenehan continued to think of himself as a Communist.


In December 1990 a legal tussle ensued over the EC elections when Lenahan lost the June election by 2,500 votes to sitting member Jack Rogers. An examination of the membership register had uncovered 6,000 duplicated entries, more than the majority held by Rogers.


So unfair did Lenehan feel the behaviour of his union had been over the conduct of the election that he took legal action to get a re-run. This duly followed and, in a change of policy, it was decided that UCATT elections would now be supervised by the Electoral Reform Society.


In a bizarre requirement, as challenger, Lenahan, had to resign his regional organiser's job under union rules to fight the election and was unemployed for most of the time he was waiting for a fair election to be held.


Lenehan was a member of the TUC General Council from 1991 to 1993 and became the Executive Council chairman of UCATT, served on the union's executive until 1995 when the full time EC was replaced by a new lay executive.


Lenehan died on 15 February 1997 aged 62. 

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