Tom Machell, Sheffield Prospect convenor and union activist who died on Sunday 20th August

We are very saddened to bring you the tragic news that Tom Machell, Prospect union convenor for many years and union activist in Sheffield, has died aged 67 years.

The funeral will be held at Hutcliffe Wood crematorium on Friday 15th September at 1230hrs

We understand he suffered a head injury and was operated on in Hallamshire Hospital General. When they tried to reduce the sedation he kept developing an infection. They tried this 2 or 3 times, and had been hopeful he would recover. Unfortunately this was not the case and Tom died on Saturday 19th August.

Tom was an active member of Sheffield Trades Council, a former Vice President and a keen supporter of our Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise campaign. In fact he personally secured a very generous donation from his union PROSPECT to support this important work organising young workers in non-union workplaces.

Tom was a gentle, principled man, strong in his trade union beliefs and widely respected across our movement. He will be sorely missed.

Please see tributes to Tom from two of his close trade union associates:

Tribute from Mark Steele, Sheffield PROSPECT convenor and longstanding friend of Tom Machell 

Tom joined BT in 1979 and all through his working life he was with a trade union. Starting off in North London and in the late 80’s he moved to Sheffield. From 2002 to 2015 he was on the Connect National Exec/ Prospect BT Division Exec, dealing with pay, negotiations, equal pay and closing the pay gap to name a few.

The company reduced over the years from 236,000 people to 100,000 and Tom was particularly pleased that not one person was made compulsory redundant.

Tom retired from BT at the age of 60 in 2015.  But he continued supporting Prospect members in the telecommunications industry and supported many managers in Phone shops who often got accused of stealing when this wasn’t the case. 

He was a fantastic mentor and encouraged many people in the trade union to stand for senior positions

 Tribute from Martin John PCS Regional Secretary and longstanding friend of Tom Machell 

Tom died on 19th August in hospital following a head injury. Tom Machell was born in Liverpool in 1956. He became politically active as a teenager and joined the International Socialists. He studied for a degree in History at Lancaster University graduating in 1977. He moved to London and worked as a porter at Whittington Hospital during the winter of discontent.

He joined British Telecom at the Hornsey Telephone Exchange transferring to Sheffield in the late 1980s. Tom was a veteran activist in the BT technicians’ union STE (latterly Connect) now part of Prospect. As a member of the union’s BT Committee he was an influential campaigner and mentor to younger activists.

 In retirement he continued to work for the union representing Prospect members with complex cases. Tom was well known and respected in the movement in Sheffield serving on the Sheffield TUC Executive for many years. He was a Vice-President in the early 2000s.

 Our condolences go to Tom’s partner Ruth and his sons Richard and Ben.