Roy Jackson: High-ranking TUC official who built up a nationwide system of trade union education

Roy Jackson, the former Assistant General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, was widely respected throughout the movement as one of the leading movers in building up a nationwide system of trade union education. Over 30,000 trade unionists a year would complete the courses he instituted.

To many Roy epitomised the trade union bureaucrat, an unshowy man who got on with the job. He was to play a leading part in the industrial relations disputes of the 1970s and 1980s which was to see the role of British trade unions and the working lives of many, change irrevocably.

Born in Paddington, West London, and educated at North Paddington School, he was the youngest son ofa family of 11. His father was a sailor. He left school to work in the PostOffice Savings Bank, but called up for National Service he followed his father in to the navy.

On demob he won a trade union scholarship to Ruskin College, Oxford, where other students at the timeincluded Norman Willis, later General Secretary of the TUC, and Professor Lord Bill McCarthy. Jackson went on to Worcester College, Oxford, where he obtained a BA in philosophy, politics and economics; and where he met a fellow member of the Labour Party, a young Australian. Rupert Murdoch and Roy would meet years later during the dispute over Fleet Street and Wapping.

Jackson left Oxford to join the TUC's Education Department, becoming Director of Studies in 1964. At that time workplace education was not treated as an important part of trade union development, but under his guidance it moved in to centre stage to be negotiated and fought for. The increasing influence of shop stewards, highlighted by the 1968 Report of the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations led to the TUC adopting a report, Training Shop Stewards, written by Jackson, which called for a student-centred style of education for trade unionists. It was to radically change teaching methods for trade union education.

Jackson was appointed head of the Education Department in 1974. The courses became increasingly popular as trade unionists sought training. Jackson was responsible for making sure the TUC took a leading role in Prime Minister Jim Callaghan's debates on education. In 1984 he and Clive Jenkins, General Secretary of the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staff and head of the TUC's Education Committee, were responsible for setting up the TUC National College at Hornsey.

It was no surprise when he was appointed as Assistant General Secretary to Norman Willis in 1984. Willis was facing political and industrial challenges and needed steady support; Jackson was thrust in to one of the most volatile periods of trade union activity as the miners strike was going through its final stages, and News International moved its operations out of Fleet Street to Wapping, igniting a year-long strike. This was to be followed by the expulsion of the electricians union from Congress. Jackson was involved with talks to resolve many of the inter-union disputes which could have damaged the status and work of the TUC,and established a reputation with all sides – management and workers – as being a hard-working, highly professional individual.

He was also responsible for reorganising the TUC itself, leading a very successful refurbishment of Congress House, modernising the 1950s and introducing new technology. He led a review of finances and procedures and introduced constitutional changes to ensure that the organisation was better able to deal with many of the new issues it faced.

He was always supportive of those working for the TUC. John Monks, a former TUC General Secretary speaking at Roy's funeral, remembered how he had helped and advised and given encouragement both to Monks himself and to Brendan Barber, the present General Secretary, when they were members of staff. Norman Willis had told him that Jackson's idealism had been built on what he thought was the best of trade unionism: "The TUC had a mission to stop bullying at work, to educate those who missed out at school, and to train and build up the confidence of their own representatives."

In the 1980s Jackson became amember of the Manpower Services Commission and served on a number of public bodies such as the OpenUniversity Committee on Continuing Education and the Schools Council Convocation. Following his early retirement through ill-health, he continued to play an active role as a member of the Employment Appeals Tribunal and as a non-executive director of Remploy, the government owned company which provides employment for disabled people.

A lifelong member of the Labour Party, Jackson was an active member of the Welwyn/Hatfield Branch, and one of the very few people to have received a Trade Union Gold Badge and a merit award from the Labour Party.

Roy Jackson, trade unionist: born London 18 June 1928; Assistant General Secretary, Trades Union Congress 1984–92; married 1956 Lily Ley (three daughters); died Hatfield, Hertfordshire 11 December 2010.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect