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Jimmy McAuley

It is with great sadness that we recently learnt of the passing of Jimmy McAuley, former seafarer, RMT union member, and committed fighter for justice around the world.

Jimmy came from a Glasgow seafaring family, and after joining the National Union of Seamen in the late 1950s, he sailed to many parts of the globe and was known further afield than just the UK trade unions. 

By the mid-1960s, Jimmy was living in and shipping out of Vancouver, and he soon became involved in the bitter inter-union struggles for seafarers on the west coast of Canada. He worked with the Marine section of the ILWU Local 400 in Vancouver to achieve representation on the coastal vessels.

He returned home to Glasgow in the 1980s, and whilst working on Caledonian MacBrayne ferries he was a leading member of RMT Glasgow shipping branch representing them at Biennial and Annual General Meetings. He was also a well-known figure in the labour movement taking part in May Day marches, anti-racist marches and would be seen on every progressive march or demonstration in Glasgow.  

Jimmy was a passionate supporter of the International Brigade Memorial Trust, he loved the “La Pasionaria” memorial in Glasgow and was very pleased with the unveiling of the memorial to the Seafarers Blockade Runners who defied Franco fascist forces and the blockade of Spanish Republican ports in the 1930s. Jimmy also supported the Liverpool dockers during the Merseyside Docks and Harbour Board lockout in 1995/96. 

In 1998, Brother McAuley was recruited to join the ITF Campaign and Exhibition Ship the Global Mariner for the 18-month ITF worldwide campaign voyage against Flags of Convenience. During the visit to Bangkok, Jimmy became personally involved with the Seafarers Union of Burma (SUB), which was in exile in Thailand, which he continued to support with the assistance of the late Bob Crow for many years. When he returned to Scotland, Jimmy worked for Northlink and continued his union activities. 

Shwe, our inspector in Houston, was a great friend and shipmate of Jimmy’s. He talks about his friendship in the Shwe Tun Aung film “Burmese Cowboy” and said of Jimmy: “Such a kind, honourable man and true trade-unionist.” 

Jimmy passed away on 31st October 2022 but will be remembered for many years to come.