Thomas Jackson (trade unionist)

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Thomas Jackson (9 April 1925 – 6 June 2003) was a British trade unionist and is best remembered as the General Secretary of the Union of Post Office Workers who led 200,000 members into a 47-day strike in 1971, the first national postal strike.

Jackson was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Aged 14 he began work for the GPO as a telegraph boy. He spent three years (1943–46) on wartime service in the Royal Navy. Upon his return he became a postman, and later a sorter, during which time he became involved in the affairs of the Union of Post Office Workers. He became a member of its executive council in 1955 and in 1964 was elected national officer. In 1967, he became General Secretary, a role he held until 1982.

Other positions held

  • Governor, BBC (1968–73)
  • Member, Annan Committee on the Future of Broadcasting (1974–77)
  • Member, court and council of Sussex University (1974–78)
  • HM Government appointed director, BP (1975–83)
  • Chairman, General Council of TUC (1978–79)
  • Chairman, TUC International Committee (1978–82)
  • Chairman, Ilkley Literature Festival (1984–87)

Jackson married Norma Burrow in 1947 and had one daughter, Kim. In 1982 he divorced Burrow and married Kathleen Tognarelli in the same year, a marriage which produced another daughter.

After retirement from trade union activities, he ran a second-hand book business, specialising in recipe books. He refused honours from Harold Wilson and later the offer of a peerage in James Callaghan's resignation list in 1979.[1] He died in Ilkley, West Yorkshire on 6 June 2003.


  1. ^ "Thomas Jackson (1925–2003)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/90043.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

External links

  • Tom Jackson: Moderate postal workers' leader whose authority never recovered from a damaging national strike (The Guardian, 07/06/2003)
Trade union offices
Preceded by
Ron Smith
General Secretary of the Union of Communication Workers
Succeeded by
Alan Tuffin
Preceded by
David Basnett
President of the Trades Union Congress
Succeeded by
Terry Parry
Preceded by
Alfred Allen
Trades Union Congress representative to the AFL-CIO
Succeeded by
Geoffrey Drain
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