CWU general secretary Billy Hayes defeated by deputy in ballot

Billy Hayes Image copyright PA
Image caption Billy Hayes has been general secretary of the CWU since 2001

A trade union official has failed to win re-election as general secretary after losing to his deputy in a ballot of members.

Billy Hayes has been leader of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) since 2001 and a senior figure in the link between unions and the Labour Party.

He was beaten by Dave Ward, the deputy general secretary (postal) since 2003, in a ballot of 200,000 CWU members.

Mr Ward will take over as general secretary on 1 June.

He said: "It's a great privilege to be elected general secretary of the CWU by our members.

Image caption Dave Ward said he would "continue the fight against austerity"

"In this role I will stand up for workers and aim to raise the profile of the union within our industries, the media and public life.

"I will continue the fight against austerity and ensure that protection and enhancement of jobs, pay and terms and conditions is at the heart of everything CWU does."

The union represents workers in companies including Royal Mail, the Post Office, BT, 02, EE, Capita, Parcelforce and Santander.

Mr Hayes, 61, had been critical of Labour leader Ed Miliband's pledge to reform the party's relationship with the unions.

Speaking in 2013, he said the move would be "moving more and more ordinary people away from politics".

More on this story