Working Class Hero Steve Jones (1955 -2022)
A gentle man with an underlying fire in his heart and soul for social justice and equality
Steve Jones was one of the working-class heroes. He never lost the faith in his lifelong fight for socialism, trade unionism and human rights.
I knew him as an unassuming, gentle man, with a great sense of irony, that belied the underlying fire in his heart and soul for social justice and equality. We shared many aspects of our political philosophies and endeavours, although I regarded him as far more radical than I.
As a long-term treasurer of the NUJ's London Central Branch, when I was secretary there, his accounting and determination to keep the books straight were impeccable. He was instrumental in helping to build and foster a strong, united branch. A kingpin indeed!
When the then NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear asked us to release some of our branch's funds for campaign literature, Steve was reticent at first – not wanting to deplete our resources – but finally agreed. That money, we hoped, would help to spread the word and foster increased membership, an aim to which we both ascribed and one that bore fruit.
Even when I left the NUJ to join BECTU, as I moved on to work in film and TV, he still invited me to the occasional NUJ branch parties he'd helped organise and kept asking me when I was going to rejoin the NUJ! A true gent who never gave up on me coming back into the fold.
He also had an innate empathy for everyone, especially the NUJ widows and orphans who had fallen on hard times. In our work together he helped me, in my joint role as branch welfare officer, to win assistance from the union's Provident Fund, under Gerald Sanctuary, and the Newspaper Press Fund to alleviate the harsh financial issues faced by the widows of our former members. These were, necessarily, confidential matters of which the wider branch could not be made aware. Through his great efforts, we were able to help those in need, freeing them of financial burdens and enabling them to live out their lives in comfort. They, and indeed, all of us who soldiered together, owe him a great debt of gratitude.
Steve, we loved you then and always will. We will miss you. You will be remembered.
Jim Humphries, past secretary of the NUJ London Central branch