Gerard Doherty (1953 – 3 September 2023): British Trade Unionist
Gerard Doherty, a dedicated British trade unionist, made significant contributions in advocating for the rights and welfare of workers. Born in 1953, he dedicated his life to improving the conditions of those employed in the transportation sector.
Doherty’s journey in the trade union began in 1972 when he joined the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) while working for British Rail in Glasgow. His active involvement and commitment led him to various leadership positions within the union. He served as chairman of his local branch and later became the secretary of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Political Advisory Council.
In 1988, Doherty’s dedication was recognized, and he was elected to the union’s executive committee. By 1991, he had transitioned to a full-time role as the Irish secretary of the TSSA. In 1995, he returned to the UK, taking up the position of divisional secretary at the TSSA headquarters in London.
A pivotal moment in his career came in 2004 when he was elected as the general secretary of the TSSA. During his tenure, he emphasized the importance of the TSSA’s affiliation with the Labour Party, utilizing this connection to campaign for better ownership and integration of railways in the UK. Additionally, he secured a position on the General Council of the Trades Union Congress.
Under Doherty’s leadership, the TSSA engaged in discussions about merging with the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers. To facilitate this, he took early retirement in 2011, showcasing his dedication to the betterment of the transportation sector.
Even in retirement, Doherty continued to serve the community. He became a director of South Central Youth, a charity focused on steering young individuals in South London away from involvement in gangs. Furthermore, in 2018, he was appointed a trustee of the Railways Pension Scheme, a testament to his continued commitment to the industry and its workers.
On 3 September 2023, Gerard Doherty passed away at the age of 70. His legacy as a passionate advocate for workers’ rights and his dedication to the trade union movement will be remembered and cherished by all whose lives he touched.