Tuesday 8 April 2008

Steve Sinnott and Greg Tucker: Socialists and Trade Unionists

Over the last week our movement has been dealt a real blow with the deaths of Steve Sinnott, General Secretary of the NUT, and Greg Tucker, longstanding Left RMT activist.

Steve was a straightforward, decent, committed trade unionist who was absolutely dedicated to education as a means of transforming society. He was a brilliant advocate not only on behalf of NUT members and the teaching profession but also on behalf of public services more generally. As part of his commitment to public services and his opposition to privatisation he ensured that the NUT was a founding member of the Public Services Not Private Profit Campaign, which I chair. Steve knew the meaning of solidarity and put his solidarity into practice by co-ordinating with other trade unions in a number of campaigns including the current pay campaign. He will be missed not just by the NUT but by the Labour and Trade Union movement as a whole and by so many of us who had the privilege of working with him. The best tribute we can give to Steve is to ensure that we give every support we can to his members in the forthcoming industrial struggle for decent pay. This one is for you Steve.

Greg Tucker was a superb example of selfless dedication to the causes of socialism and trade unionism. I have known Greg for nearly 30 years from the days he was a rank and file activist campaigning in support of the Labour Left on the GLC, through the ratecapping campaign and the miners strike and onto his excellent work representing the RMT. Greg was one of those comrades who was always there if you needed support no matter how difficult the issue and whatever flack we were coming under. He embodied the best of our movement, a thinking, extremely well read, and determined socialist. Because he was such an effective representative of RMT members he was an automatic target for management victimisation but he stood up courageously to everything thrown at him. Greg would not allow anything to stand in the way of serving his members and our movement. The real heroes and heroines of our movement are those that quietly without thought of reward devote their lives to our cause. Greg was one of those heroes whom I am immensely proud to have known.