Arthur Deakin bigraphy, stories - Trade Union official

Arthur Deakin : biography

1890 - 1 May 1955

Arthur Deakin (1890–1955) was a prominent British trade unionist who was acting general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union from 1940 and then general secretary from 1945 to 1955.

Deakin was born in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire in 1890, his father died when he was young and his mother re-married and the family moved to South Wales. He began his working life at the age of 13 at the Dowlais Ironworks. He became an active trade unionist during the First World War and a full-time official in 1919. In 1932, he became national secretary of the General Workers National Trade Group within the TGWU and in 1935 became assistant general secretary. In 1940 he effectively took over the position of general secretary, following the appointment of Ernest Bevin as a cabinet minister. Deakin's period as general secretary was marked by a consolidation of the powers of executive, occasional serious outbreaks of unofficial strike action among union members and a fierce anti-communist line.

Deakin was due to retire in November 1955 but on 1 May 1955 Deakin was addressing a May Day rally at the Corn Exchange in Leicester when he collapsed, he was dead on arrival at hospital.

Deakin was succeeded as general secretary by Jock Tiffin.

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