Born in Carshalton, Surrey, married to Diane with 4 daughters, Joe began his career in engineering at Westland Helicopters in Somerset, where, as a Union convener, he cut his teeth politically during the “Westland crisis” of 1986. A Union member since 1969, holding a number of positions in the TGWU, Joe was elected General Secretary of the National League for the Blind and Disabled in 1995.
Joe was a Labour Party member from 1979 and sat on the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee. In 1994 he became a City Councillor in Exeter where he won a seat from a Tory to give Labour overall control of the council for the first time. As part of his activism within the wider Labour movement, Joe was instrumental in securing many of the workers rights we all enjoy today.
Joe led the merger between ISTC and NLBD, now Community. He held many roles in his time at Community including that of; Regional Secretary, National Officer, National Secretary and finally Deputy General Secretary of Community. Joe worked tirelessly as Deputy General Secretary of Community up until his retirement in January 2014. He was also elected to the GFTU National Executive Committee, serving as its President in 2012.
In recognition of his work representing and supporting disabled people, in 2000, he was awarded an MBE.
Roy Rickhuss, Community General Secretary, said:
“On behalf of the entirety of Community I want to express my condolences to Diane, Joe’s daughters and everyone affected by his passing.
Joe was a shining light in the trade union movement and a stalwart of progressive trade unionism. Today we celebrate Joe’s life and his incredible legacy. His dedication and fortitude led to changes that will impact every worker in the UK for generations. His values remain a central part of Community and will shape our union for long into the future.”
Rest in Peace, Joe