His grass-roots activity was legendary, serving as a shop steward and convener at major sites in north-west
Jones was also the UCATT convener for 15 years at the
He was among the founders of the Building Workers Charter rank-and-file group and a member of its editorial board in the 1960s and 1970s, working to build unionisation and direct action in an increasingly casualised industry. When the national building workers’ strike was called in 1972, Jones headed the Merseyside strike committee.
He was thus intimately involved in the campaign to free the
During the battle to secure their release, win a pardon and get an inquiry into the real political conspiracy that had taken place, Jones regularly visited the three men in jail.
Despite widespread support from trade unions and expectations that these demands would be granted once Labour regained office in 1974, Labour home secretary Roy Jenkins, who later ratted on the party by founding the Social Democratic Party and assisting the Tories to win the 1983 general election, refused to countenance such an act for justice.
Jones joined forces with Ricky Tomlinson once again during the 1984-5 miners’ strike. Tomlinson by then had become an actor, getting his big break playing the trade unionist Bobby Grant in Phil Redmond’s soap Brookside, and they organised benefit concerts to raise money for the families of striking miners.
Tomlinson told the local paper in
Presenting the award, UCATT president and fellow Scouser John Thompson paid tribute to Jones’s career and continuing support for the trade union movement. "Whenever Bill’s name is mentioned in union circles, people always have respect for him," he said. "Even if they disagreed with his politics, they always admired his honesty and consistency. Respect is only earned by the way you conduct yourself and Bill remained totally committed to his trade union and political values."
Jones’s commitment to the working class was once again recognised in 2007 when he received the Robert Tressell Memorial Award at a ceremony in
On top of his involvement in UCATT, Jones was also active in the trades council movement and was chairman of Knowsley Trades Council for many years. He was a
He was a strong internationalist and encouraged exchange visits with trade unionists from other countries, including the
He was an active supporter of the Anti-Apartheid Movement and fought against all forms of racism. He remained firmly committed to the Communist Party and he was a lifelong reader and supporter of the Morning Star.
During his working life, his main concern was for unity throughout the trade union movement and he was a passionate supporter of action to achieve the repeal of all anti-trade union laws.
He was survived by his wife Sal, children Chris, Shirley and Carolyn and seven grandchildren.
Sources: Morning Star