23 Apr 2009

Former British union boss Jack Jones dies at 96

10:11 pm on 23 April 2009

One of the most powerful trade British union leaders of the 1970s, Jack Jones, has died in London at the age of 96.

He headed the Transport & General Workers Union (TGWU) from 1969 to 1978, at a time when it was one of the country's most powerful unions, making trips to Downing Street for meetings which became known for their beer and sandwiches.

He was born in Liverpool and served as a city councillor, fighting in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s before embarking on a career as a full-time union organiser.

He helped negotiate the social contract, an agreement between the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the then Labour government.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, called him a true giant of the labour movement and a "passionate internationalist".

"After his working life as a trade unionist, he became a champion for pensioners, holding ministers to account without fear or favour and urging governments to deliver dignity to the elderly," he added.

His son Mick said Jack Jones died peacefully in a care home in Peckham, south London on Tuesday.