Westerman was responsible for electricians during a turbulent period and was generally seen as a moderating force on the membership of the union.
The AEEU is known to be keen to increase its membership among steel erectors, but union members said the move was “an act of revenge” by the union’s executive following a year of industrial relations problems that the union was powerless to prevent.
As the construction market improved, AEEU electricians embarked on a series of unofficial strikes in defiance of their union, including a highly publicised four week stoppage on the Jubilee Line Extension.
Electricians also overturned a national pay and conditions agreement brokered by the AEEU, which included the creation of a semi-skilled grade of electrical worker – the skilled mechanical assembler – to offset the shortage of skilled electricians.
One electrician said: “The union are just shooting the messenger. Westerman is paying the price for the executive’s humiliation after we rejected the creation of the SMA.
“It’s a shame because he worked for the men on site. ” The AEEU was unavailable for comment.