16 September 2021

Tribute to Steve Ryan

It is with great sadness that we must inform branches and members of the passing of our dear friend and comrade Steve Ryan. Steve died on Tuesday (14) after a short battle with cancer.

Steve was a longstanding rep for both PCS and its predecessor union. He first became at rep in the IRSF Cornwall and Plymouth Branch in 1977 and was involved in a series of national disputes, including the 1981 cross-civil service strike which sought to directly take on Thatcher’s reforms to civil service pay.

Steve transferred to Wrexham in the mid-80s, where he again quickly took a leading role in his new branch. He played an active role in the IRSF Wales and Midland Regional Committee and was first elected to the group executive committee in 1999.

Many will remember him for his leading role in the LEAN (later Pacesetter) dispute at the time. Steve was elected as vice president of the by then PCS Revenue and Customs group in 2007 to cheers from the floor of conference when the result was confirmed.  

He worked tirelessly for members both as a GEC rep, a member of the PCS Wales Committee and local branch rep. Steve was instrumental in the negotiation of many agreements with the employer, the Pacesetter agreement being one and in later years worked as one of our negotiators in benefits and credits, helping to stop the movement of staff to DWP and Universal Credits.

After a long career in HMRC, Steve retired just over two years ago. At that time, considering himself too young to be idle, Steve decided to embark on a new future and enrolled as a student at Liverpool University to study history, another of his passions.

Steve will be known affectionately for his love of festivals, his support of environmental issues, his staunch anti-fascist work, and his continued campaigning for fair and equal treatment for all.

Steve’s compassionate yet frank representation of members was legendary and bought him respect from members and management alike. He inspired and mentored many young trade union reps while also recruiting others. We know that members past and present are eternally grateful to him for the unwavering support he provided over the years.

Steve was a passionate advocate of social justice and remained involved in PCS ARMS activity and many cross-union campaigns and activities after retirement. Even upon learning that he was ill a few weeks ago, rather than thinking of himself he began to sow the seeds within his ARMS branch of a campaign to improve access to face-to-face GP services in a bid to ensure that no one else would suffer from late diagnosis of serious illness.

Assistant group secretary Colette Smith, who worked closely with Steve at branch and national level, said: “On a personal level Steve was a great friend and influence on me and the choices I’ve made along the way. I was honoured to work alongside him as a GEC rep but even more so as branch chair and secretary of the newly-formed North Wales and North West Revenue Branch after the merger of WLWC Branch and North Wales Branch.  I, along with many others, will miss him dearly.”

RIP Steve

La Lucha Continua

Source URL: https://www.pcs.org.uk/news-events/news/tribute-steve-ryan