Trade unionists and socialists in Sheffield will be sad to learn of the death of Rob Dawber. Rob was an active socialist and trade unionist since the mid-1970s. Rob was local RMT branch secretary at the time of rail privatisation. He and thousands of track workers were made redundant. Rob turned his hand to film writing and wrote a prophetic script about the effects of privatisation on rail safety.
Rob remained active and was elected as trades council secretary in 1998. Very quickly, though, he was forced to stand down as he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. He was given only months to live. Rob did not give up the fight. The RMT successfully sued British Rail for compensation.
Rob's health took a rapid turn for the worse over the last couple of weeks, and he died suddenly on 20 February. His fight against cancer typified his fight against this rotten system – he refused to give in to either.
Rob's film, The Navigators, directed by Ken Loach, is due to be released in the autumn and is a fitting tribute to a lifelong fighter. Our thoughts are with Lindsey and the children.