Ron Todd, ex-leader of TGWU, dies at 78

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The Independent Online

Ron Todd, who led one of the country's biggest trade unions during Margaret Thatcher's years in Downing Street, has died in hospital aged 78. He is believed to have been suffering from leukaemia

Ron Todd, who led one of the country's biggest trade unions during Margaret Thatcher's years in Downing Street, has died in hospital aged 78. He is believed to have been suffering from leukaemia

Mr Todd rose through the ranks to take over as general secretary of the Transport & General Workers' Union in 1985 after a controversial election. His predecessor, Moss Evans, had been accused of assisting his campaign and the election had to be rerun.

Mrs Thatcher was then at the height of her power and taking on the miners. Against this background, Mr Todd became one of his generation's most respected union leaders.

He ensured the TGWU not only survived the Conservative government's onslaught, but remained at the forefront of the left's then favoured causes of nuclear disarmament and the fight against apartheid in South Africa.

He helped turn the Labour movement towards Europe, telling the 1988 TUC conference that Brussels "was the only card game left in town".

Tony Woodley, the current general secretary of the now T&G, said: "Ron carried the trade union flame throughout the darkest days of Thatcher-ism, leading the T&G in very difficult years with decency, integrity and commitment."

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