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executive replaced by a part-time lay body.

Replacing the full-time executive is part of a business plan being overseen by Mr Brumwell and the Unity Trust bank.

And Mr Brumwell believes that a cost-cutting drive could put the union back in the black, rendering a merger unnecessary.

He said: For a long time it seemed there was no alternative than to merge with the TGWU.

But if we get back on to a sound financial footing shouldnt we rethink that?

I want what is best for this union. And part of that is a lay executive made up of real building workers who know what life on site is really like.

Both sides will meet to try to resolve the dispute before it comes to a costly court case.

Mr Flavin said: Mr Brumwell is prepared to be one man in a rowing boat, but he is not confident enough to sail on a bigger ship.

Mr Brumwell said: I am prepared for all sorts of shit to be thrown at me during the next few weeks, but I just want to see democracy prevail.