GMB union legend Arthur Moss RIP

Arthur, who was the clear underdog, had decided to stand simply because “someone told him he couldn’t”.

22 June 2020

GMB trade union North West & Irish region recently said farewell to one of our long serving and hardest working Union Branch Secretaries, Arthur Moss, someone who, without any shadow of a doubt, had earned the title ‘Legend’ many times over.

When accolades were being thrown around Arthur was the type of person who would go into hiding, preferring to simply get the job done, but everyone who knew him, (family, friends and GMB union colleagues) always recognised the efforts he made over the years for the trade union (and more importantly for Arthur – his union members).

Arthur Moss GMB trade union tribute RIP

The list of campaigns, battles and successes on behalf of GMB trade union members involving Arthur is endless, but none of them meant more to him than the lesser known fights that Arthur won every day on behalf of his mostly female low paid union members working for Liverpool City Council.

The second of 2 children Arthur was born on 10 August 1947 to Mary and Harry Moss. Arthur has a brother Harry.

Arthur went to St Oswalds and then St Cecilia’s (both Tuebrook Liverpool). He left School at 15 and went straight into a job at Remetal windows on Green Lane.

Even early on Arthur showed he wasn’t one to back down and got into a skirmish. with a bigger older lad over a bottle of Lemonade of all things.

Arthur met his future wife of 52 years, Sheila when they were both 15 and they started going out when they were both 16.

By this point Arthur was working on a building site and Sheila bought him a signet ring for his 17th birthday, which he lost whilst working on a roof and was devastated. Thankfully he found the ring a few weeks later in a cellar below the roof he had been working on and it became one of his most prized possessions right up until when he passed away.

After spending a short spell working at a cobblers right across the road from his house, Arthur started work aged 18 on the buses at the Green lane depot as a conductor. This was a role that was scrapped with the introduction of single operator buses and Arthur became a bus driver.

Arthur and Sheila were married in March 1968, but their wedded bliss was interrupted within days by an 11 week strike on the buses. As the sole provider Sheila continued to work as according to her: Arthur “enjoyed himself playing football”.

Arthur and Sheila have 3 children (Stephen, Paula and David) and 5 grandchildren, all of whom he doted on and everyone remembers Arthur as a great family man, but he saved most of his energies for looking after Sheila, doing all the work around the house and never once did she wake up without a cup of tea, right up until Arthur became ill.

Arthur Moss GMB union tribute

Arthur became a trade union steward on the buses after becoming friends with Norman Joliffe who also persuaded Arthur to join the TA. Arthur wasn’t really in it for the glory or the excitement and always said he was quite happy peeling spuds.

In 1984, almost 25 years to the day he started, Arthur left the buses to work for Liverpool City Council driving “the yellow buses” for social services.

Arthur soon began to get more involved with the GMB trade union and eventually became a full time convenor working with Roy Gladden and Arthur’s subsequent long term friend Bobby Daniels. In those days they had an office in the old fruit and veg market on Edge Lane.

It was in 1986 that Arthur decided to stand as GMB union General Secretary, unfortunately for Arthur, but fortunately for his LCC members, Arthur was beaten in the election by John Edmunds.

Arthur, who was the clear underdog, had decided to stand simply because “someone told him he couldn’t”.

It was this rebellious streak that often drove Arthur, this and his heart felt desire to do what was right for low paid workers and those he saw as victims of injustice.

Arthur’s proudest moments with GMB trade union came when he was instrumental in the council removing the bottom 2 pay grades (almost all female) and when equal pay and job evaluation were eventually agreed, addressing a decades old issue of pay inequality in LCC and other authorities.

Arthur was also influential in the council agreeing improved maternity and paternity provision.

Over the years Arthur became more and more involved in the work of the union itself and became a GMB union Regional Committee member and a frequent delegate at the annual GMB trade union congress.

It was at GMB union Congress that Arthur made some of his most heartfelt speeches on a variety of topics (including low pay) and he never backed away from confrontation even when taking on the union to fight against the increases in members subs.

Arthur never really got to grips with technology and would rather spend the time making and taking calls than being online or reading Emails. This approach to his work suited Arthur, being the great people person he was.

In recent years Arthur started to visit America more and more often with Sheila to see friends and family.

Arthur retired from the council around 5 years ago, but continued his work for the union right up until he became too ill.

Paying tribute to Arthur, GMB trade union Regional Secretary Paul McCarthy said:

“Arthur was not only a great friend of mine and many others in the GMB union North West & Irish region and the wider trade union movement, but a wonderful warm human being. He will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him, most of whom have their own stories to tell, but he will quite rightly be remembered most for his tireless dedication to putting right the injustice of pay inequality and improving the lives of low paid female workers.

The likes of Arthur come along very rarely in life and to have known him is a great personal honour and he is someone I will never forget. He was a trade unionist of the highest calibre and thousands of council workers have benefitted from what he has done for them.

God bless Arthur, rest in peace.

Arthur Moss GMB union tribute RIP

RIP Arthur Moss GMB union tribute

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