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Jeff Edwards sadly passed away at Whipps Cross hospital on 3 January, having contracted Covid-19.
Jeff had worked as a porter at Whipps Cross hospital for more than 30 years. He was a supporter of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and a Socialist Party member.
Although Jeff never held a union position formally (apart from auditor) he played a role in the fight to help build union organisation at the hospital in the years following the trust's privatisation of ancillary services in 1997.
A hugely popular figure, Jeff had the ear of the young porters whom he helped gain an understanding of their industrial strength, and what could be won through collective trade union action. He helped make the union's case to longer-serving porters to take what was successful strike action, alongside their newer counterparts leading to the the raising of pay, terms and conditions to that of their longer established colleagues.
Having retired only two years ago, Jeff will be forever remembered by our Unite union branch for his unswerving committment to the union. He was a stalwart on our picket lines through successive strikes by the hospitals ancillary workers against the effects of privatisation over the past twenty four years.
A lover of life, of people and a few beers, Jeff was in every sense a real East End cockney legend and will be missed by many.
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Article dated 20 January 2021
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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