Honouring great trade union leader

Jack Jones Credit: Credit: PA Images

THE centenary of the birth of one of Britain's outstanding trade union leaders is to be celebrated in Liverpool.

Jack Jones was born in York Street, Garston. His career embraced local politics, fighting in the Spanish Civil War, the leadership of Britain's biggest trade union and campaigning for pensioners' rights.

Community artworks by local artists Alan Murray and Nicola Taggart will be unveiled today in York Street following a procession from Railway Street. which includes local schoolchildren and residents.

The artworks include a mural at York Street commemorating key events in his life. There will also be individual pieces at Railway Street about Garston icons and local people's reflections of the area

Jack Jones worked at Liverpool Docks and joined the Transport and General Workers Union in 1927 He served as the youngest member of Liverpool Council between 1936 and 39. In 1937 he volunteered to fight with the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, being wounded in 1938 at the Battle of Ebro,

On returning to Britain he became a full-time official with the TGWU, becoming its General Secretary in 1968.During his time in office he became a household name as the membership of his union grew to two million.

On his retirement he fought for pensioners' rights through the National Pensioners Convention which he chaired from 1979 to 2001.He died in April 2009.

The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: "Jack Jones' life was one of selfless devotion to improving the lives of working people and pensioners.

"He was never interested in personal honours - he turned down a peerage and his whole life was dedicated to helping others. He is one of Liverpool's greatest sons and it is only right that he should be honoured in his birthplace in Garston."

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said: "Jack Jones was an inspiration to all who met him. He was a great fighter who fought fascism and injustice to create a better life for ordinary people.

"It is an inspiration to see children from local schools, residents, employers and workers coming together to celebrate Jack's life and all that he stood for. He was a great man who touched so many lives and it is a privilege to be taking part in such an event in his home town of Liverpool."

The artwork and a celebration event are being funded by Speke Garston ward councillors, South Liverpool Neighbourhood team, Enterprise Liverpool, South Liverpool Housing, Liverpool Housing Trust and Unite.