Former prominent trade unionist Pete Carter, famous for leading sit-ins at the Rotunda in Birmingham over conditions for building workers, has died of lung cancer, aged 73.
Building union Ucatt’s Midlands organiser from 1980, he was a shop steward on Bryant Estate sites in the region and fought to abolish the “lump” casual labour system rife in the construction industry.
He also worked with three TUC regional councils to mobilise the People’s March for Jobs in 1981 in opposition to the policies of the Thatcher Government.
A group of 280 marchers left Liverpool at the start of May 1981, local groups supported them en route, feeder marches from Yorkshire and South Wales joined in, and by the end of the month 150,000 unemployed people and trade unionists converged on Hyde Park in central London for a final rally.
An obituary in a national newspaper said: “Born in Tipton, Pete was the eldest of five children of Ted and Mabel Carter, licensees of the Whitehall Tavern in Greets Green, West Bromwich.
“Unable to write when he left school at the age of 15, he became a skilled bricklayer, and in the late 1950s met Norma Harris, who was a huge influence on his political awakening. They married in 1962 and had two children, Sue and Mike.
“In the early 1970s, as a shop steward on Bryant Estates sites in the Midlands, he and other communist militants succeeded in abolishing the “lump” casual labour system, improved wage rates and working conditions, and attracted enormous publicity through occupying the Rotunda site in Birmingham.”
His marriage ended in separation in 1977, and Norma died 10 years later. He is survived by his children.