It is with great sadness that we report the unexpected death of Rob Howard-Perkins. Rob died in December following a short illness. He was 35.
Rob joined the civil service after leaving school in 1987, working at Stepney and then City Social Security offices. He joined the union immediately and it was not long before he was playing an active role in CPSA Hackney and Tower Hamlets branch. Rob also served on the CPSA DHSS Section Executive Committee and was a member of both Socialist Caucus and the Broad Left. Outside the Civil Service Rob was active in the Labour Party, Socialist Organiser and several anti racist campaigns.
Rob is remembered fondly for his determination to stand up for the rights of union members in the newly formed Contributions Agency and his no nonsense approach to the management bullies that ran it. This was evidenced during an acrimonious but successful staffing dispute and industrial action taken by the branch in the early nineties. This success came at a cost.
Rob's dismissal from the civil service in 1994 was the type of pure malice and victimisation that the union fights so hard eradicate in the workplace, and we need more people like Rob to achieve this aim. It is to his credit that he did not let this event dampen his spirit in any way. His sheer enthusiasm for all aspects of life, whether it be his family and friends, politics, sport or music was evident for all to see.
Following his time in the civil service, Rob remained active in the local Labour Party and pursued other interests such as commentary for the London Towers basketball team and hosting a talk show on Whitechapel hospital radio. He kept in regular contact with friends from work and we would meet regularly to "put the world to rights" in the Castle pub on Commercial Road.
Over two hundred people attended Rob's funeral and his mother Iris and Aunt Lil would like to thank all those who sent letters of condolence and donations to charity as well as their support during this difficult time.
All who knew Rob will remember a man who genuinely cared about people and one who was always willing to help as a friend or as a trade union rep. He was never afraid to argue his corner with anyone who he may have disagreed with politically, but never bore a grudge or took things personally, and everyone respected him for it. Above all, Rob epitomised the strong trade union and political traditions of the East End of London.