Press releases

Mick Shaw: “a true socialist”

2nd April 2012

The LRC is sad to report that former FBU President Mick Shaw has died, aged 53. Mick was a member of the LRC since its (re)formation in 2004, serving on the National Committee, and addressing LRC meetings and conferences.

We offer our condolences to Mick’s family, and to his comrades in the FBU and throughout the trade union movement. See also the FBU members’ circular

John McDonnell MP, LRC chair and Secretary of the FBU Parliamentary Group, said:

“Mick was one of the finest socialists and most selfless, dedicated trade unionists I have ever met. Firmly on the Left, for many of us he was an unsung working class hero.

“He committed his life not only to representing his fellow fire fighters but also to a vast range of causes from campaigns against cuts in public services and poverty in this country to the struggles of working people in Latin America and across the world. Wherever there was a good cause to fight, Mick was there to give his wholehearted support.

“I will always remember his calm integrity and courage when facing up to some of the hardest struggles our movement has confronted in recent decades. His death is a sad loss to our movement but his life will stand as an example of what a true socialist is for generations of fire fighters to come. I am just so proud to have known him and worked alongside him.”

Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary, said:

He joined the London Fire Brigade as a recruit in 1977 - one of the generation of young FBU activists from the Southwark training school whose trade unionism was moulded in the first ever national firefighters’ strike that year.

He worked as a firefighter at Shoreditch and Plaistow stations before going on to work full-time for the union.

Mick was elected as executive council member for London in 1997, and in 2007 elected FBU president, serving until he retired early in 2011.

His determination to make the case for socialism within the wider trade union movement was bolstered by active membership of the Labour Representation Committee, to which the FBU is affiliated.

Read Matt’s obituary of Mick in full

Mick addressed the November 2009 LRC annual conference (video below) and, looking ahead to the likely Tory victory in the general election, told delegates:

“Although the idea of an increase in class struggle may gladden the hearts of many of us, I think they will be defensive strikes ... but nevertheless these struggles are going to be taking place and I think it’s important that socialists and other trade unionists do what they can to raise support for them. And that’s why I think an organisation like the Labour Representation Committee is so important.”

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