The centenary of the birth of one of Britain’s outstanding trade union leaders is to be celebrated next week.
Jack Jones was born in York Street, Garston on 29 March 1913, 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 on Thursday 28 March 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 Jack Jones’ 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.
“Jack Jones’ life was one of selfless devotion to improving the lives of working people and pensioners, “said the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson.
“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.”
Councillor Steve Munby, City Council cabinet member said: “It is very appropriate that we should be honouring Jack Jones at this time as not only is it his centenary but some of the challenges he face in his lifetime are now confronting the city and we should be inspired by his work as we deal with them.”
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.