Utting, born in October 1918 in East Anglia, was apprenticed in his youth as a carpenter and joiner. During the 1930s, he became active in the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers in Peterborough from the age of 18, and joined the Communist Party in 1940. He was the Party’s District Secretary in South East Midlands from 1952 to 1956.
Often in conflict with the ASW leadership, he suffered two years of suspension from union office in the 1950s. However, the ASW joined with other building unions in the early 1970s to form the Union of Construction and Allied Trades and Technicians. Utting was nationally prominent as the Chair of UCATT national executive council from 1981-82, having joined it in 1973.
In part arising from this role, he was elected to a position as a member of the Management Committee of the co-operative that runs the Morning Star, as part of a strategy of building closer links with the trade union movement and the paper. This was the period that the conflict between the `Euro-Communist’, `revisionist’ Executive of the CPGB and the trade union wing of the Communist Party began to take shape. When it erupted, in 1984, Utting was firm in his support for the big majority of shareholders who had backed the paper’s management.
Immediately before all this, he had retired from the UCATT Executive in November 1983. In retirement, he has been particularly active in his local UCATT branch and trades council and the pensioners’ movement.