Ken Jackson (trade unionist)

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Sir Kenneth Joseph Jackson (born 3 March 1937) was the General Secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU) from 1995 until that union's merger with the Manufacturing Science and Finance (MSF) union to form Amicus in 2001. He subsequently became one of the Joint General Secretaries (JGS) of Amicus.

Ken Jackson was born and educated in Wigan, Lancashire. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1956 as an electrical technician, and continued in the same profession after re-entering civilian life. In 1966 he was elected as a Branch Secretary in the Electrical Trades Union, later the Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union (EETPU). He became an executive councillor of EETPU in 1987 and its President in 1992. In 1995, following EETPU's incorporation into the AEEU, he became AEEU General Secretary.

Following the merger of AEEU and the Manufacturing, Science and Finance Union (MSF) to form Amicus, Jackson automatically assumed the role of Joint General Secretary of the AEEU Section of Amicus. This position came up for re-election in June 2002 and he was defeated by the then relatively unknown Derek Simpson, who went on to become Amicus General Secretary.

Throughout his career, Ken Jackson was on the right-wing of the union movement. He was a vice-president of the Trade Union Committee for European and Transatlantic Understanding (TUCETU) – an organisation with close links to NATO and the CIA. He became a close associate of Tony Blair - in fact, he is often described as "Tony Blair's favourite trade unionist" – and received a knighthood in 1999, an unusual honour for a trade union leader. His defeat in 2002 occurred at a time when the trade union movement was moving to the left. He found himself at odds with his counterparts in the movement due to his support of issues such as private-public partnerships and US aggression.

Sir Ken became chairman of Nirex, a company which manages disposal of nuclear waste, on 2001-12-06 while he was still JGS of Amicus, and remains in that role.

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Trade union offices
Preceded by
New position
President of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union
With: Bill Jordan
Succeeded by
Bill Jordan
Preceded by
Paul Gallagher
General Secretary of the AEEU
Succeeded by
Position abolished
Preceded by
New position
General Secretary of Amicus
with Roger Lyons
Succeeded by
Derek Simpson