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During his early days as a full-time official, he was noted for his regular reports in the union journal on the work and need for 100% shop floor organisation and membership. He was elected a national officer of NUFTO in February 1963 and, in that capacity, led a major campaign in the furniture making industry to rebut an employers’ offensive on pay and conditions.
A long-term member of the Communist Party, in 1964, he flew to
A particular contribution he made to his industry was in promoting concern and solutions about the increasing use of unsafe foam in upholstering. This arose after the tragedy of
In 1972, NUFTO merged with the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers and Construction Machinists (ASWCM) and formed the Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades
Rubner has been described by Phil Davies, National Secretary of the CFTA section of the GMB, effectively the successor to FTAT within that union, as “a man of compassion, gentle, kind and a great negotiator”. Davies recalls Rubner’s tenacity and attention to detail in the interests of his members. At one set of difficult negotiations with the British Furniture Manufacturers Association, after 11 solid hours of tussling at 9pm, asked by colleagues if it were not time to settle, given the little that now separated the two sides, Rubner replied: “No. Another penny an hour means a loaf of bread to our members.” Needless to say, despite another three and a half hours of talks, the extra penny was obtained!
Sources: Morning Star