Obituary: Comrade Norman Goodwin 1938-2018

NORMAN GOODWIN died recently at his home in Birmingham. Norman was a true working class fighter and socialist. He was a dedicated anti racist and internationalist and a staunch supporter of the Irish national struggle.

His proudest moment, as an AUEW shop steward, was leading his factory GKN Salisbury Transmissions out on strike to join the famous Battle of Saltley Gate in 1972 in support of the miners’ strike. A struggle that will rightly go down as a historic victory for workers against the Tory government and Coal Board.

In February 2012 Norman spoke alongside Arthur Scargill in Saltley to commemorate the battle to ‘Close the Gates’. It was only fitting, as a life long militant suspicious of trade union bureaucracy, that he spoke of the necessity of rank and file organisation and working class direct action.

Norman endured spells of unemployment but worked in several engineering factories. In later years he worked on the railways and was an RMT member, and before his retirement was employed at Sainsburys.

But Norman was never just a militant worker. From an early age he joined left wing political organisations such as the International Socialists where he strove to build a factory branch. In the early 1980s he joined Workers Power and, with his beloved wife Shirley, helped build a campaigning branch that launched itself tooth and nail into the epic Miners Strike of 1984/85. It was in this period that he was to inspire many younger activists with his no nonsense avowal of working class struggle.

Later years saw Norman more reflective than active though more than willing to share his experiences with those much younger as when he spoke at a Leeds Workers Power public meeting on the Miners Strike, rekindling some lost energy, as indeed was the case at the 2012 Saltley Gate commemoration.

The loss of Shirley in 2007 was a huge blow to Norman. More recent physical disability made his mobility very difficult. Not that this hindered his annual visit to his favourite holiday destination in Greece on the island of Zante!

He will be sorely missed by friends and comrades and of course by his son Tony to whom we give our deepest condolences.

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Norman’s funeral will take place at Sutton Coldfield Crematorium, Tamworth Road at 2pm on Monday 9 April.

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