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Death announced of Jimmy Knapp

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Jimmy Knapp, General Secretary of RMT, died at noon today after a year long fight against cancer. Jim was 60 years old.

There will be a celebration and requiem mass for Jimmy in London next week, details of which will be available shortly (through the RMT), followed by a private burial in Kilmarnock.

Vernon Hince, Senior Assistant General Secretary of RMT said:

“Jimmy will be sadly missed by all members of our Union and by the wider Trade Union and Labour Movement. He had earned the respect of everyone and the affection of many for the calm dignity he brought to the job. He was a credit to the Union, the transport industry and far beyond. Our hearts go out to his wife Eva and the family at this time.

“He was always known in the Union as the big man and his passing will leave a huge gap in the Trade Union World.

“He was a great leader and friend who will be sadly missed.”

The family has asked for privacy.

In paying tribute to Jimmy Knapp, TUC General Secretary John Monks said, “Jimmy Knapp was one of the outstanding trade union leaders of this generation. But his qualities would have made him a great trade unionist at any time. He was a big man with a commanding presence and a sincerity to match.

“Behind the slow deep voice there was an agile mind – quick to get to the heart of a problem; always working towards a solution, though never at the expense of principle. A modest, warm and generous man, he never wanted more for himself than for those he represented.

“He ranks alongside the great Scottish trade union leaders, but his trade unionism was never confined by borders. He was a great internationalist, for example, standing up to apartheid well before such action was commonplace.

“He was a railwayman to the core but was never confined to the tracks.

“He played an important, if not widely recognised, role in the modernisation of the trade union movement and the Labour Party.

“He fought hard for the rail industry and his union during difficult times for both.

“Though he rose to prominence in national life he remained close to trade unionists in the workplace and in the regions.

“He was a passionate about the role of unions in giving workers access to education and skills. The quiet revolution which is now going on in the workplace and especially in workplace learning owes much to his efforts.

“We have lost a great trade unionist. And I have lost a good friend.”

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