Tributes after Jack Taylor, NUM leader during Miners' Strike, dies aged 89

Tributes after Jack Taylor, NUM leader during Miners' Strike, dies aged 89

By Michael Upton | 18/01/2019

Tributes after Jack Taylor, NUM leader during Miners' Strike, dies aged 89

THE ROTHERHAM-born union official who led pitmen during the Miners’ Strike had been hailed as a proud family man and a “tremendous” leader after his death aged 89.

Jack Taylor (pictured), who was Yorkshire president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) between 1982 and 1990, was revealed by his son Andrew as a lover of golf, opera and Sheffield United.

Rawmarsh-born Mr Taylor Snr, who died on December 28 at Rotherham Hospital, started his working life in the wagon repair shop at Stubbin Colliery before later going underground as a face and development worker.

After moving to Manvers pit, he was picked to represent colleagues in meetings with the management and it was “a natural step” to become more involved with the union, his son said.

A shake-up in the NUM in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s led to him rising through the ranks and he progressed to become president.

Mr Taylor Jnr recalled the 1984/5 strike as  “tough for everyone” but said his father noted those on the picket lines and not able to work in the pits had it worst of all.

He said his father had passed on an interest in politics “but it was never shoved down our throats” and did not dominate family life.

After the strike came a wave of pit closures and Mr Taylor Snr was keen to forge the best deal for the workers, said his son, adding: “That was always his first consideration in union matters.”

Labour MPs united in saluting Mr Taylor’s contribution.

Wentworth and Dearne John Healey said: “Jack Taylor was a great servant of the NUM and showed tremendous leadership during the strikes of 1984 and 1985.

“In the best traditions of the Labour Movement, Jack was both a life-long trade unionist and a long-standing Labour member.  

“He was admired locally in Rotherham and throughout the county, and will be sadly missed. We offer our deep condolences to his family at this time.”

Rother Valley MP Sir Kevin Barron, a former miner himself, also paid tribute, saying: “I was very sad to hear of Jack's passing.

“I’ve known Jack since the 1970s and he was always a pleasure to be around. “When he was first elected as an NUM official he was a breath of fresh air to the whole process.”

Away from work and union responsibilities, Mr Taylor had a love of cricket, football, tennis and later golf, becoming a long-standing member of Wath Golf Club.

He also enjoyed for music, especially opera.

Mr Taylor is survived by his wife of 66 years, Barbara, with whom he lived in Swinton, son Andrew, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

His son said his health had been in steady decline for some time but he remained “quite chipper until the end”.

Mr Taylor Snr said his father funeral at St John’s Church in Swinton on January 10 was well-attended, and the NUM sent a delegation and a banner.

“It shows the appreciation a lot of people had for dad,” he said.

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