Champagne socialist Jenkins dies at 73

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The Independent Online
CLIVE JENKINS, one of the most well-known and colourful post-war union leaders, died yesterday aged 73.

Mr Jenkins, who was rarely off the television or out of the newspapers in the Seventies, was the first union leader to recognise the potential for recruiting white-collar workers. He used to list among his recreations in Who's Who, "organising the middle classes".

Born into a working-class home in Port Talbot, south Wales, Mr Jenkins, who combined high self-regard with wit, won fame as a "champagne socialist". Through a judicious mixture of property investment, media appearances and book fees he combined a attachment to left-wing politics with a millionaire's life-style.

Mr Jenkins was a union general secretary for 28 years, successively leading three white-collar unions. A flamboyant figure to the end, he insisted on the title "general secretary emeritus" when he finally left the third, MSF.

His zest for the job and his passionate Welsh oratory made him not only a favourite at the Labour Party and Trades Union Congress conferences but also marked him out as one of the most effective union leaders of his generation.

Roger Lyons, the present leader of MSF, said his contribution to the movement was "immeasurable". "He was the first union leader to recognise that it was possible to recruit foremen and middle managers to trade unionism and he was the first to realise that it was possible to use the media to get the movement's message over," Mr Lyons said.

John Monks, the TUC general secretary, said: "Clive Jenkins was a one- off, an intellectual gadfly who drove forward the growth of trade unionism amongst white-collar and professional workers with enthusiasm, wit and style."

Obituary, Review, page 6

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