Mick Shaw, firefighter and former president of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), has died aged 53.
Mick joined the London Fire Brigade in the summer of 1977. As a trainee, he straight away threw himself into the nine-week national firefighters’ strike that November—and every FBU campaign from then on.
He worked as a London firefighter at Shoreditch fire station and at Plaistow before moving to work full-time for the union.
Mick was elected FBU executive council member for London in 1997 and later president of the FBU in 2007—a position he held for four years until he retired last year.
A committed and principled socialist, he was involved in many campaigns over the years—from Latin America solidarity to the Anti Nazi League.
“Whenever we asked Mick to chair or speak at anti-fascist meetings or solidarity meetings for striking workers he almost always agreed,” said Socialist Workers Party activist and FBU member Neale Williams.
“Mick saw the FBU as part of the wider workers’ movement. Whenever he spoke he was always informed and concrete. The FBU and the workers’ movement will miss him.”
Mick was a member of the left wing Labour Representation Committee.
Its chair John McDonnell MP paid tribute to Mick, calling him an “unsung working class hero”.
“Mick was one of the finest socialists and most selfless, dedicated trade unionists I have ever met,” he said. “Wherever there was a good cause to fight, Mick was there to give his wholehearted support.
“His death is a sad loss to our movement but his life will stand as an example of what a true socialist is for generations of firefighters to come.”
Anwar Ditta, a heroic anti-racist campaigner, died last week.