The CIU movement’s Durham branch secretary is to serve his third term as “clubland’s” national leader following the recent biennial election.

George Smith, who was first voted into the post of CIU national president in 2019, was returned to office unopposed in December’s election.

It means the Sunderland-born former shipyard worker, a lifelong clubman in his adult years, will remain in office heading the Club and Institute Union’s (CIU’S) National Executive Committee (NEC), until the end of 2025, by which time he will be aged 82.

The CIU, established in 1862, is a non-political federation of more than 1,600 trades and social clubs across the country, more than 150 of which are in the Durham branch area, between the Tyne and Tees.

The Northern Echo:

Other than monthly NEC meetings, the big date looming for Mr Smith in the clubland calendar is the CIU Conference weekend, in Blackpool, which features the 160th annual meeting, on Saturday April 20.

The meeting, which he will chair, will see delegates from across the UK consider the annual report and financial statement, as well as debating and voting on various motions.

The Northern Echo:

Mr Smith was initially a member at South Hylton and Pennywell workingmen’s clubs, in Sunderland, the latter founded by his father, prior to moving to Teesside to work in the former Haverton Hill shipyard.

He became a member of Billingham Trade Union Social Club in 1977, before being elected to its committee two years later.

Mr Smith has served as a long-term secretary and treasurer of the club and was elected to the Durham branch executive committee in 2003, becoming branch secretary in 2014, when he was also elected to the NEC.

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He said his aim was to, “keep our clubs together” and sees the role of the NEC as offering the various branches support and up to date information relating to new legislation and advances in the running of clubs.

Mr Smith sees his style of leadership as bringing a moderate voice, as he prefers, “talking to people rather than shouting at them.”

Among other outcomes of the recent national election, Stephen Foster, secretary of Easington Colliery Club and Institute, was returned uncontested as the Durham branch delegate on the NEC.