Chapter 17 - obituary

Issue date
19 Aug 1999

Chapter 17


Reg Bottini, who died on 5 May, served on the General Council from 1970 - 78 Born in 1916, he was educated at Bec Grammar School in South London and worked as a shipping clerk and later in land drainage during the Second World War, before joining the National Union of Agricultural Workers (now part of the T&G). He became head of the union's negotiating department in 1954 and was appointed to the Agricultural Wages Board in 1963. In 1970 he became the union's general secretary. His period of office was marked by the successful conclusion of the long-running campaign to abolish agricultural tied cottages.

Sid Clapham, former general secretary of the National Union of the Footwear, Leather and Allied Trades (now part of the NUKFAT), died in November 1998 aged 79. He spent most of his working life in the shoe trade. He was a branch official for more than 15 years before becoming assistant general officer for the union in 1974. Two years later he became general secretary, a post he held until his retirement in 1983. He received the MBE in the year he retired.

John Daly, who served on the General Council from 1983-90, died in February this year aged 68. Born in the Clerkenwell area of London, he worked in the printing industry before going to Ruskin College Oxford. From there he joined the Workers Educational Association and later became a negotiating officer for the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, where he also edited the union's journal. He was a member of the TUC staff from 1965-68, working in the Education Department. He joined Nalgo's education department in 1968 and worked in the local government, health and gas sections of the union rising to the post of Assistant General Secretary in 1976. He became general secretary in 1983 and held that post until his retirement in 1990. He served on most of the senior TUC committees, including the Labour Party Liaison Committee, and chaired the Public Services Committee.

John Golding was a member of the General Council from 1986-88 but was an influential figure in the trade union movement over a much longer period. Born in Birmingham in 1931, he worked as education officer in the Post Office Engineering Union from 1964 until 1969 when he was elected Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme. He was Parliamentary Under Secretary for Employment from 1976 -79 and chairman of the Employment Select Committee from 1979-82. He retired from Parliament in 1986 on becoming General Secretary of the National Communications Union (now part of the CWU), holding that post until 1988. He was also a member of the Labour Party's National Executive Committee from 1978-83. He died on 20 January this year.

Michael McGahey, who died on 30 January aged 73, was one of the best knownand widely respected trade union leaders of his generation. Born into a mining family in Shotts, Lanarkshire in 1925, he started work as a miner at the age of 14. Four years later was chairman of his local NUM branch and by the age of 28 was a member of the union's Scottish Executive. In 1966 he joined the National Executive and a year later became the union's Scottish President. He was Vice President of the union from 1974 until his retirement in 1987. He came to national prominence during the disputes of that period - including the year long strike of 1984-85 and he served on the General Council from 1982-1986.

Jack Macgougan was a prominent figure in both British and Irish trade unionism. Born in Belfast in 1913, he was an active trade unionist virtually from the day he started work in an accountancy firm aged 16. His first full-time union job, as Irish organising secretary for the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, followed a period working at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. He was chairman of the Northern Ireland Labour Party from 1945 until 1950, but following a split in the party concentrated on his trade union work and was president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in 1963/4. He was elected general secretary of the Tailors and Garment Workers ( now part of the GMB) in 1970, a post he held until his retirement in 1979. He was a member of the General Council from 1970 until 1979 and served on most of the senior committees, chairing the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Industries Committee from its formation. He was also a member of the Manpower Services Committee and the Central Arbitration Committee and represented the TUC on the European Economic and Social Committee and the International Labour Organisation. He died on 8 December 1998 aged 85.

Dr Robert Murray, who was the TUC's medical adviser from 1962-74 died on 27 October 1998 aged 82. A doctor specialising in occupational medicine, after serving in the Far East during the Second World War, he joined the Medical Inspectorate of Factories in 1947 and worked for the inspectorate until 1956. During this time he developed considerable specialist knowledge of the asbestos industry. After leaving the inspectorate he went to work for the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, before joining the TUC. He was awarded the OBE in 1978.

Ben Rubner, a carpenter by trade and a communist by life-time commitment, was raised in London's East End between the two world wars. He was elected an official of the National Union of Furniture and Timber Operatives in 1958, becoming general secretary of what had by then become the Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades Union in 1976 (the union is now part of the GMB). He was an outspoken opponent of the incomes policies of the late 1970s and the "new realism"of the early 1980s. He retired in 1986 and died in September 1998.

Alan Wilson, general secretary of the British Association of Colliery Management from 1979 until 1989, died on 2 December last year aged 71. He worked in the mining industry before becoming a full-time official of the Association, rising to the position of senior surveyor in the Durham coal field. His period of office at BACM coincided with the year long miners strike and the subsequent contraction of the coal industry.

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