Campbell Christie became widely respected as a critic of Conservative governments under Margaret Thatcher and John Major
Colleagues have paid tribute to the former General Secretary of the STUC Campbell Christie, a leading figure in Scottish unions’ resistance to Margaret Thatcher and the Poll Tax, who has died at the age of 74.
Campbell Christie served as general secretary from 1986 to 1998. The STUC’s current general secretary, Grahame Smith, said he was “a tremendous ambassador for the trade union movement and for Scotland. Campbell’s overwhelming objective was always to place the STUC and the unions at the heart of Scottish industrial and political life.”
“Under Campbell’s stewardship the STUC rose above the exclusion of unions from the corridors of power and forged relationships across Scottish society which galvanised opposition to the brutal policies of Thatcher and Major Governments. Those relationships remain in place today.”
The TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “Campbell was a towering figure in the Scottish labour movement… a passionate advocate for social justice. But he also played a critical role too in building broader political and civil support for devolution. He leaves an enduring progressive legacy, and will be much missed across the whole labour movement.”
Campbell Christie had recently chaired a government-appointed commission on the future of public services in Scotland, in which he concluded that the Scottish Parliament should have greater tax-raising powers in order to defend public services north of the border.
Prior to his position at the STUC, Mr Christie was a full-time official and later deputy general secretary with the National Union of Civil and Public Servants.
Keith Aitken, in his history of the STUC, described Campbell Christie as “having a reputation for provocative oratory that unsettled the right-wing Catholic grouping which dominated civil service trade unionism in the 1960s. At the time of his appointment as General Secretary of the STUC in 1986, he claimed his chief motivation was his wish to help shape a Scottish Parliament.”
After retiring from the STUC, Campbell Christie sat on the boards of a number of public bodies, including Forth Valley NHS, Scottish Enterprise and Falkirk Football Club.
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