Toast to Barnet’s top trade unionist

Written by  Monday, 11 September 2017 09:49
Neil Kinnock, former Labour Party leader, joined the 93rd birthday party for Fred Jarvis, Barnet’s most celebrated trade union leader – a New Barnet resident for over 60 years Neil Kinnock, former Labour Party leader, joined the 93rd birthday party for Fred Jarvis, Barnet’s most celebrated trade union leader – a New Barnet resident for over 60 years
Neil Kinnock led the tributes at a party to celebrate the 93rd birthday party for Fred Jarvis, Barnet’s most celebrated trade unionist – and a New Barnet resident for over 60 years.

Mr Jarvis, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers for 14 years, was president of the Trades Union Congress in 1987, the first Oxford graduate to lead the trade union movement.

His late wife, Anne Jarvis, a teacher in Finchley for 30 years, spent eight years chairing Barnet Council’s education committee.

Friends from the world of education, the wider trade union movement and the Labour Party, joined the celebrations, and added their congratulations to what Mr Kinnock said was a “lifetime’s dedication to improving education standards”.

Mr Jarvis, and his wife-to-be Anne, a teacher at North Side Primary School, North Finchley, started their married life in High Road, Whetstone, and moved in 1954 to their house in Hadley Road, New Barnet, a much-cherished family home.

His career took off in 1952 after being elected president of the National Union of Students, of which Anne Jarvis was vice president. He was appointed general secretary of the NUT in 1975, a post he held until 1989.

Mrs Jarvis was a teacher’s representative on Barnet education committee and on being elected a Labour councillor was immediately appointed the committee’s chair.

In proposing a birthday toast, Mr Kinnock told the assembled guests that Mr Jarvis had re-invented himself yet again and was now a highly-thought of blogger.

He recalled that Mr Jarvis had made one foray into party politics in 1951, standing as Labour candidate for Wallasey, a safe Conservative seat, that was comfortably held in that election by Ernest Marples, with a 15,000 majority.

Mr Jarvis welcomed three new Labour MPs to his birthday party, congratulating them each on sharing his passion for education, and for now being able to make their contribution in Parliament to the continuing campaign to raise school standards.

He described them as my “three young friends”: Emma Hardy, MP for Hull West and Hessle, Ellie Reeves, MP for Lewisham West and Penge, and Wes Streeting, MP for Ilford North, who like Mr Jarvis is a former president of the National Union of Students.

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