Matt Wrack : biography
Matt Wrack is a British firefighter and trade unionist. He was elected General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in May 2005.
Wrack was born Matthew D. Wrack in Manchester on 23 May 1962. He joined the Labour Party Young Socialists in Salford in 1978 and was a member of Farnworth Constituency Labour Party during the period in which the local MP John Roper left Labour to join the SDP. Wrack subsequently moved to London, working for a time in the DHSS before joining the fire service.
Election as FBU general secretary
Wrack ousted incumbent General Secretary Andy Gilchrist on 5 May 2005 after Gilchrist had served just one five-year term. This followed widespread discontent over the settlement reached by Gilchrist with the government that ended the 2002-03 pay dispute. Wrack won 63.9% of the vote (12,883 votes). Wrack is seen as a leftwinger and was formerly involved in the Socialist Party and Militant Tendency. He is a potential member of the Awkward Squad of trade union leaders, taking a hard line against the government on issues of pay and conditions.
Wrack stood for re-election in 2010 and was challenged by John McGhee, a longstanding ally of former general secretary Andy Gilchrist. Wrack was re-elected. He was elected to the TUC general council in 2006 and has been re-elected since.
Service in the London Fire Brigade
Wrack joined the London Fire Brigade in 1983 and after training was posted to Silvertown Fire Station in the east London borough of Newham. He rapidly became involved in the Fire Brigades Union and by 1984 he had become a branch secretary of the FBU. Between 1988 and 2005 he served as a member of the FBU London Regional Committee and was Regional Organiser in 2002. In 2004 he was elected Regional Secretary and later Assistant General Secretary. Wrack once served as a firefighter with the former fire minister, Jim Fitzpatrick MP, at Silvertown fire station, east London. He subsequently spent most of his fire service career at Kingsland fire station in Hackney.
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