My friend and comrade Ken Montague, who has died aged 70 from pancreatic cancer, was a lecturer, writer, climate change activist, trade unionist and Socialist Workers party member, who played a big part in the 1976-78 Grunwick strike for union recognition.
The son of Florence (nee Needham), a housewife, and Walter Montague, an engineer, he was born in Stepney, east London. On leaving Raine’s Foundation grammar school, he studied literature at the University of Essex and took his MA there, then gained a certificate of education at Garnett College (now part of Greenwich University).
He started out teaching contextual studies at the London College of Furniture (now London Metropolitan University), and from the mid-70s onwards taught a range of subjects in further and higher education, mostly at Barnet and Southgate College, north London, but also at Middlesex University. As a branch official of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education, later the University and Colleges Union, Ken fought management on pay and conditions, and successfully campaigned to reinstate a number of colleagues.
As long-standing secretary of Barnet Trades Council, he joined the Grunwick strike committee, fighting for solidarity between the white, male manual workers and the Asian women who made up the majority of the workforce. Ken argued for mass pickets to shut down Grunwick’s film processing plant in Willesden, north-west London.
He was a member of the Campaign…