Aslef appoints Labour PRO Pakes as comms chief

Train drivers’ union Aslef has ended its seven-month search for a head of comms, as it endures a public rift between its general secretary and its executive.

Aslef has appointed the former head of the Labour Party’s political comms unit Andrew Pakes to head comms. Pakes, who worked for the Labour Party from 2002 until last summer, joined Aslef this week, filling the comms void left by the abrupt departure of media and comms officer Andrew Murray (PRWeek, 22 October 2003), who later joined the T&G (PRWeek, 7 November 2003).

After leaving the Labour Party’s comms team, Pakes was senior policy adviser to the then prospective London Labour mayoral candidate Nicky Gavron.

He said that his role would cover all of Aslef’s corporate comms functions, including press and publications. Pakes added that he would expand Aslef’s comms team, of which Pakes is currently the sole member.

Last month, Aslef’s internal strife was laid bare when general secretary Shaun Brady said he had lost day-to-day control of the union because of a power struggle with its more left-wing executive.

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