The NUJ PR and Communications branch pays tribute Mick Gosling – trade union stalwart, life‐long socialist and our former chair, who died on 7th April this year.
Mick’s contribution to the NUJ was enormous. He was a frequent delegate and speaker at ADM and DM, was on The Journalist’s editorial board and later the disabled members committee.
He chaired the PR and Comms branch for many years, and one of his strengths was his willingness to put his socialist beliefs into action. Members are often at their most vulnerable when dealing with grievances and disputes at work, but life was better when Mick was there fighting your corner. And, come hail, rain or shine, Mick never stinted in showing his solidarity, standing alongside others who took strike action, fighting for better conditions at work.
Mick’s links with the trade union movement began early when he joined the Labour Party Young Socialists at 14 and then at Kent university (where he got a first in politics, sociology and government), supporting the Kent miners in the early 1970s.
Later as a worker at Ford Dagenham, he chaired the Transport & General Workers Union 1107 paint, trim and assembly branch. Long after he was victimised out of Ford and had joined the communications team at Hackney Council, Mick was incensed by the treatment of workers at manufacturing plants divested by Ford. More than 500 jobs were lost at three of Visteon’s plants, with staff being given less than an hour’s notice. Mick didn’t simply decry Ford’s shabby treatment of its workers, he stood alongside them when they were striking for their jobs.
Mick’s energy for fighting injustices and promoting fairness was unwavering. He was passionate about addressing the issues he cared about whether these were local for calling for an end to uncontrolled rents or defending public services).
In a motion proposed by Mick at the NUJ’s annual delegate conference in 2007, he called on the union to support ‘a boycott of Israeli goods’ similar to those boycotts in the struggles against apartheid South Africa led by trade unions and the TUC to demand sanctions be imposed on Israel by the British government.
Mick was sociable too and, for several years running, he organised the PR and Comms’ annual summer outing – a canal boat journey along Regent’s Canal and the Lea Navigation.
Mick and his passion for fairness and combatting inequalities will be missed by his friends and colleagues in the NUJ. His love of learning, literature and being principled to the end, he wanted to donate his body to medical science.
He is survived by his wife, Kathryn Johnson, sister Christine Mapus-Smith and children, Natalya Vince and Alexander Vince. Mick’s funeral was held on 19 April at St Marylebone Crematorium in east Finchley. Limited to 30, among those giving tributes were Barry White NUJ formerly Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (CPBF) national organiser and member of our branch until 2019, Davy Jones who worked with Mick at the CPBF and Alan Gibson, NUJ and NEC and Hackney Trade’s Union Council (where Mick was treasurer).
Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn MP who had worked with Mick in organising a successful counter demonstration against the National Front in Wood Green, North London in 1977, made a moving speech highlighting Mick’s commitment to fighting racism and injustice. He concluded by reading an extract from Shelly’s ‘The Mask of Anarchy’. Following the committal, mourners left to the strains of Monty Python’s ‘Always Look on the ‘Bright Side of Life’.
In recognition of Mick’s contribution to the branch, PR and Comms has donated £100 to Mick’s chosen charity, War on Want.
Donations can be sent to www.waronwant.org/mickgosling, There will be a memorial rally for Mick later this year when Covid restrictions are lifted.