Socialist Worker

Steve Ludlam 1951-2017

by Ron Singer on behalf of IS hospital workers
Issue No. 2572

Steve Ludlam

Steve Ludlam

Steve Ludlam died last Tuesday after suffering from cancer.

Steve dropped out of his Swedish degree course and became a porter at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London during the hospital ancillary workers strike of 1972.

He joined the International Socialists (IS), forerunner of the Socialist Workers Party.

Steve used the wave of militancy to build a network of NHS shop stewards from the Nupe, Cohse and T&G unions. He helped set up the Hospital Worker newspaper and an IS London NHS branch.

A small number of IS members, committed to building rank and file organisation, pulled off significant unofficial and official strikes.

Organising around Hospital Worker, the rank and file group could act independently when union officials blocked action.

Steve was central to Hospital Worker’s content and the wider rank and file movement of the 1970s.

These strikes improved workers’ conditions and highlighted the issue of private beds in NHS hospitals and the poor state of hospital buildings.

The discovery of asbestos at Moorfields led to a walkout under the slogan “The only good asbestos is blacked asbestos”.

It highlighted the dangers of asbestos not generally accepted.

He is mourned by Julia, his sons, family and friends and by militants from the 70s who remember his clear strategies, boldness, political nous and sense of humour.

The funeral is on Monday 25 September, 2pm, Grenoside Crematorium, North Chapel, Skew Hill Lane Sheffield S35 8RZ


Article information

Tue 19 Sep 2017, 14:40 BST
Issue No. 2572
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