Mary Turner (trade unionist)
Born in County Tipperary, Turner was educated in Thurles. When she was twelve, her family moved to northern England, and then the Kilburn area of London. She started work when she was sixteen, at Jackson's Tailors on Oxford Street, also joining the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers. She married and took time out of work to bring up her children, returning to employment as a dinner lady in Brent in 1970. She recruited many of her colleagues into the General and Municipal Workers' Union, hoping to improve their pay and conditions. She also began campaigning for free school meals for all pupils.
Turner was active in the Labour Party, and engaged in a wide variety of political activism from the 1970s onwards, including opposition to the National Front and organising catering for the People's March for Jobs. In 1989, when some party members in Brent East tried to deselect Ken Livingstone, Turner was one of two candidates to stand against him, although ultimately Livingstone was comfortably reselected. She was a candidate for the Labour nomination for the seat again in 2000, after Livingstone was expelled from the party, but on that occasion lost out to Paul Daisley.
Turner was elected to the executive of the union, which became the GMB, in 1983; initially, she was the only woman on the executive. In 1997, she was elected as the union's president, and was re-elected every year thereafter. During the 2010s, she suffered from increasingly poor health, but she remained active in the union until her death in 2017.
- Peta Steel, "Mary Turner, trade unionist and president of GMB union", The Independent, 22 July 2017
- "Our Mary - Celebrating the life of Mary Turner", GMB London
- "Mary Turner, Labour party executive and president of GMB union, dies after long illness", The Telegraph, 20 July 2017
- Nicola Slawson, "Mary Turner, longtime president of GMB, dies after long illness", The Guardian, 19 July 2017
- Ken Livingstone, You Can't Say That
- Richard Adams, "Diary", The Guardian, 27 September 2000
- "Passing of Mary Turner", GMB, 19 July 2017
- "Mary Turner", The Times, 20 July 2017
|Trade union offices|
| President of the GMB
|Party political offices|
| Chair of the Labour Party