A former Morning Star reporter has been awarded the top honour bestowed by the National Union of Journalists.
Roy Jones, who served as the paper's industrial reporter from 1982 to 1995, joins the ranks of figures including Tony Benn and Fenner Brockway in being made a Member of Honour of the NUJ.
Born in 1930, Roy is still active both in the union's 60-plus group and in his own geographical area, Wales and north-west England. For the last 16 years he has written a monthly column in the Morning Star on Welsh issues.
Roy was born in north Wales and when he was five his family moved to Ellesmere Port on Merseyside.
His father was a steelworker. Roy says there were always plenty of books in the house and that his mother was a big influence on him.
He left school at 14 in 1944 and did a number of jobs in the oil industry, including that of pipefitter. He moved into the construction industry in 1958.
He had become a member of the Transport and General Workers Union in 1950 and was a shop-floor activist. In the construction industry he joined the Heating and Domestic Engineering Union, serving as the union's branch chairman and on its area committee, and was also chairman of Ellesmere Port Trades Council for 10 years until he was banned for being a member of the Communist Party. Despite this he had electoral success standing against Labour candidates.
Roy served as convener on a number of construction sites and in 1969 was chairman of a shop stewards' committee which led a six-week strike for a pound a week pay rise, resisting the incomes policy of Harold Wilson's Labour government.
He increasingly found himself being blacklisted - a practice still being exposed today, raising questions over the complicity of the police in providing information about activists which was passed on to construction companies.
As a result Roy had to travel extensively to find work, including in London, Belgium and on off-shore oil rigs.
With access to work becoming increasingly difficult because of the blacklisting he joined the editorial staff of the Morning Star as the paper attempted to rebuild its industrial base in 1982.
He joined the paper's industrial desk two years after Thatcher's election victory and retired two years before Tony Blair came to power.
The period covered some of the most tumultuous industrial struggles of the 20th century, in which the Morning Star played a key role - the lone daily voice representing the views and actions of working people fighting for the livelihoods, their families and their communities.
In his own words: "British industry was being laid to waste."
In 1984 it became the turn of the miners to feel the full force of a state intent on destroying them and their union, the National Union of Mineworkers.
Writing in 1985, Roy said: "The great miners' strike of 1984-5 was a storyteller's dream - it features heroes, heroines and villains, and was played out over a drama-filled year that matched precisely the changing colours of the seasons - a great story for any journalist, especially a working-class lad who came late to journalism."
Roy had joined the National Union of Journalists in 1982 and was soon a regular speaker at the union's annual delegate meetings.
As an industrial reporter he was automatically a member of the Industrial Reporters' Group, an organisation which brought together specialist industrial staff from all Britain's national newspapers, from broadcasting, and from many regional newspapers.
The reporters covered the annual conferences of all the major unions at a key time in Britain's industrial and political history. Decisions made at some conferences - including the miners' - could have an impact on the future of Britain.
Reporting them was a key role, particularly on a newspaper itself devoted to trade unionism and the cause of working people.
As industrial reporter on the Yorkshire Evening Post from 1974 to 1994 I was privileged to work alongside Roy and one of his predecessors, Mick Costello, covering the union conferences and epic struggles of those years.
In addition to covering the miners' strike Roy was also involved in reporting on other major struggles of the 1980s and '90s as Thatcher's venom was felt by workers in the steel industry and many more.
Britain's manufacturing base was being systematically attacked and wrecked, along with its most powerful unions. By the turn of the century trade union strength in manufacturing industry had plummeted. Union membership in Britain had peaked at about 13.5 million in the 1970s. Today it stands at about 6.3 million and the new breed of Tories is intent on finishing off what Thatcher started by wrecking trade union organisation in the public sector.
The NUJ's Membership of Honour was presented to Roy at the union's recent delegate meeting in Newcastle, where the union's honorary treasurer Anita Halpin spoke movingly of Roy's lifetime of commitment.
"Roy is one of very few industrial reporters, if not the only one, to be honoured in this way and only the second journalist from the Morning Star or its predecessor the Daily Worker to have received it - the other being that great subeditor, typographer and designer Alan Hutt, who later became president of this union."
She said it was fitting that the two great crafts of journalism - reporting and subediting - had thus been equally acknowledged.
She went on: "I am delighted that Roy is being honoured in this way. He has made a tremendous contribution to the NUJ as a reporter of trade union affairs and as an effective and popular activist."
Now in his eighties, Roy's activism continues - both through his monthly column on Wales in the Morning Star and through his work with the NUJ's 60-plus group.
He is also a respected source of sound and wise advice among a new generation of journalists and NUJ activists.
Throughout his lifetime of activism Roy has enjoyed the support of his wife of 57 years, Gladys.
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