We pay your respects to Maureen Cummings, Patrick Hughes, Peter Jacques, Bill McCall, Leif Mills, John Morton, Ramesh Ramnarine, Alec Smith and Dave Storrie.
Maureen Cummings, who died in March, worked in the TUC’s economic department and latterly as secretary to Assistant General Secretary David Lea. An authoritative figure, she was widely respected in Congress House.
Patrick Hughes, who died in November, worked as the TUC’s regional education officer in the Midlands from 1976 to 1992. Based in Birmingham, he worked tirelessly to deliver trade union education across the region.
Peter Jacques, who died in December, led the TUC’s social insurance department for over two decades until his retirement in 1993. Born into a working-class family in London, he left school aged 15 with no qualifications – but became one of the leading trade union officials of his generation, influencing public policy and legislation in ways that endure to the current day. Along with General Secretary Len Murray and union leaders such as Jack Jones, his work led the 1974–79 Labour government of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan to introduce reforms such as earnings-related pensions, child benefit paid directly to mothers, and stronger health and safety rights – including new rights for hundreds of thousands of trade union health and safety reps.
Bill McCall, who died in April, was general secretary of the Institution of Professional Civil Servants (IPCS, now part of Prospect) and a member of the TUC General Council from 1984 to 1988. After studying at Ruskin College, he joined the TUC’s social insurance department in 1954, before moving to the IPCS in 1958 and becoming general secretary in 1963 at the age of just 33. As well as leading the IPCS into TUC affiliation, he turned it into an industrial force for skilled professionals such as air traffic controllers, scientists, statisticians and health and safety inspectors. He successfully took on Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, winning a 15 per cent pay rise for government-employed engineers, scientists and lab technicians, and was one of the leading figures in the campaign for trade union rights at GCHQ. By the time he retired in 1989, the IPCS had grown from 55,000 to 90,000 members.
Leif Mills, who died in December, was general secretary of banking and finance union Bifu (now part of Unite) and its predecessor Nube from 1972 to 1996. He served on the TUC General Council from 1983 to 1995, acting as Congress president in 1994–95. After joining Nube as a research officer in 1960, he became assistant general secretary, and was instrumental in the huge expansion of white-collar trades unionism that took hold in the 1960s. Leif Mills also chaired the TUC’s Education and Training Committee and Financial Services Committee.
John Morton, who died in January, was general secretary of the Musicians’ Union (MU) from 1970 to 1990, and served on the TUC General Council from 1975 to 1984 and again from 1987 to 1989. A major modernising figure within the MU, he was at the forefront of the union’s boycott of the Scala Ballroom in Wolverhampton during its so-called ‘colour bar’. With his keen interest in law, he secured collective agreements with the new generation of commercial and independent radio stations and led a strike at the BBC against proposals to close five orchestras, which led to three being reprieved.
Ramesh Ramnarine, who died after a year-long battle with cancer, was a cleaner at the TUC for over 19 years. An avid cricket fan, he was a very popular colleague at Congress House.
Alec Smith, who died in July, was TUC President in 1990–91 and served on the TUC General Council from 1979–92. Active for many years in the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers (NUTGW), he became the union's assistant general secretary in 1974 and was elected general secretary in 1979. He subsequently led the NUTGW into merger with the GMB, where he served as a national officer.
Dave Storrie, who died in January, worked for many years as a regional development worker in the TUC’s Northern region, initially on bargaining for skills, employer training pilots and the Learning for All fund. He was a passionate trade unionist, proud of his AEEU membership as an electrician, and deeply committed to adult learning.
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