Sir Bill Morris – England

Linked with our presentations of TGWU – England, and with Migrant workers ‘boost UK growth’. See also Remembering British Unions.

He says: “I’m not sure that it [is] at the moment, given the march to mega-unions and mega-mergers”, and: “I’ve watched the last two Labour Party conferences and the debate, and it seems to me that trade unions have an agenda not to promote some of the policy issues, but merely to defeat the government, defeat the platform”. (See on BBCnews, June 9, 2006).

Sir Bill Morris – England

Excerpt: … A delegation from Jamaica attended, headed by Senator Delano Franklin, Minister of State for Diaspora Affairs, along with Mr Ed Bartlett, representing the Jamaica Labour Party. The keynote address was given by Sir Bill Morris, Chancellor of UTech and a champion of the diaspora in the UK. It was an inspiring gathering of Jamaicans, eager to stand up and be counted … (see on the Jamaica Observer, June 12, 2006).

Excerpt: … Sir Bill Morris, the former union leader who headed an inquiry into professional standards in the Metropolitan Police, said it was essential that armed officers who were asked to confront suicide bombers should be confident that they had public support. Sir Bill Morris: ‘This is detracting from the fight against terrorism’ He denounced the squabbling that followed the leak of confidential witness statements gathered for the investigation being conducted by
the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) … (Read all on Google Group uk.politics.misc).

Bill Morris was born in Bombay, Jamaica in 1938 and lived with his parents (his mother was a domestic science teacher, his father a part-time policeman) in a small rural village, Cheapside, Manchester. He was educated at nearby Mizpah School where his ambition was to play cricket for the West Indies. His plans to attend a prestigious agricultural college had to be rethought in 1954, when he joined his recently widowed mother in Britain, living in the Handsworth district of Birmingham. The cultural differences were considerable – as was the weather – but he coped with the snow and the rain and started work at the Birmingham engineering company, Hardy Spicers, attending day-release courses in engineering skills at Handsworth Technical College. He later married and had two sons, Garry and Clyde, and now has two grandchildren, Una and Rohan. His wife, Minetta, died in 1990. (Read more on 100 Great Black Britains).

Morris (born 19 October 1938) joined the Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU) in 1958, and became a shop steward in 1962. After serving on the TGWU General Executive Council (GEC) from 1972 to 1973, Bill Morris joined the union as a full-time official. He served as district officer of the Nottingham District from 1973 to 1976 and district secretary of the Northampton District from 1976 to 1979. In 1979, he became national secretary of the Passenger Services Trade Group, which was responsible for staff working for bus and coach companies. He was elected deputy general secretary in 1986, serving under general secretary Ron Todd. Morris was elected general secretary when Ron Todd retired in 1992. He was re-elected in 1995, ahead of Jack Dromey. He served until his own retirement on his 65th birthday, 19 October 2003, when he was succeeded as general secretary by Tony Woodley, who again beat Jack Dromey. During his time as general secretary, Morris was generally regarded as a moderate and did not have a good relationship with the more radical elements of his union. He was also known as a supporter of Prime Minister Tony Blair, although the relationship cooled towards the end of Morris’s tenure. Morris was a member of the TUC General Council and Executive Committee from 1988 to 2003. He was appointed a non-executive director of the Bank of England in 1998. He was also a member of the Royal Commission on the Reform of the House of Lords from 1999 to 2000. He is a member of the Board of Governors of South Bank University, a Trustee of the Open University Foundation, and the member of the Courts of Northampton University and Luton University. He was appointed as the first Chancellor of the University of Technology, Jamaica in 1999 and as Chancellor of Staffordshire University in 2004. He has been a member of the advisory councils of the BBC and IBA and a Commissioner of the Commission for Racial Equality. He chaired the Morris Inquiry into professional standards in the Metropolitan Police in 2004. He sits as a member of the Employment Appeals Tribunal. Morris was awarded the Order of Jamaica in 2002 and received a knighthood in the 2003 Queen’s birthday honours list. On April 11, 2006, it was announced that Morris would take a seat in the House of Lords as a working life peer, and he was gazetted as Baron Morris of Handsworth in June 2006. (Read more on wikipedia).

Excerpt: … William “Bill” Morris broke down many barriers, especially prejudice in trade unionism and created a more equitable life at the workplace, not just for himself but for Britons of all races. Which history book will let our children and their children know about the man from Jamaica who today is on the Board of the Bank of England, a man who was asked to use his organisational skills to help edge the House of Lords away from extinction? (Read the whole on the Jamaica Observer).

Excerpt, under ‘New peers’: … Former Transport and General Workers’ Union general secretary Sir Bill Morris was introduced in the Lords as Lord Morris of Handsworth … (see on Yesterday in Parliament, June 14, 2006).

Read here more of his Bio.

Morris’ childhood dream was to play cricket for the West Indies, but instead, his move to Britain directed him into the Trade Union, where his life in the public eye began. (See rest on


The full list of working life peers down of this site;

Some of his actual (2004) different memberships;


FORMER UNION boss Sir Bill Morris has blasted the governments “one size fits all” equalities agenda. (See all on black information link).

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