Jack Jones was born in Liverpool in 1913. He left school at 14 and worked as an engineering apprentice, then as a dock-worker. He served with the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War and was wounded at the Battle of Ebro in 1938. Later he became a full-time official of the T&G in Coventry and helped to keep the city's munitions industry working through the terrible German bombings.
After the war Jack was largely responsible for organising the work force of the car industry in the Midlands. He was elected general secretary of the T&G in 1968 and led the union for nine years. During that time he held many prominent positions in the TUC and was a principal spokesman on international and economic matters.
Jack was the 'architect' of ACAS and was a member of the NEDC from 1969 to 1978. In 1977 he gave the BBC Dimbleby Lecture, 'The Human Face of Labour'.
Jack Jones wrote about his childhood in his autobiography, 'Union Man" (1986):
My home was in York Street, Garston, in the south end of Liverpool - a long street of poor and mean terraced houses. They had two rooms up and two rooms down, generally in a decaying state. They had been built some time in the last century - obviously with the minimum of cost - to house labour for the nearby factories and docks. The houses were infested by rats, mice, cockroaches and bugs. Our rent was five shillings a week, and even that was exorbitant!
From a child's point of view the street had one advantage: out of the maze of working-class streets it was the nearest to the Mersey river. We walked past the copper works, the tannery, Grayson's shipyard, the bobbin works (making wooden bobbins for the textile industry), a derelict glass works and King's ship-breaking yard and there we were on the shore, a wonderful if muddy playground when we tired of playing our games in the the street.