Bill Morris was general secretary of the T&G from 1991 until 2003. He was the first black general secretary of a trade union but made the point during his election campaign, 'I am not the black candidate, rather the candidate who is black.'
Born in Jamaica, Bill Morris came to the UK in 1954 to join his recently-widowed mother. While working for a Birmingham engineering company, he attended a day-release course in engineering skills.
His trade union life began in 1958, when he joined the T&G. Five years later, he was elected a shop steward and went on to hold a wide range of elected position within the union, including membership of its General Executive Council.
In 1973, he became a full-time union official and, six years later, was responsible for leading national negotiations in the bus and coach industries. He became deputy general secretary in 1986.
He has served on a wide range of national bodies, including the advisory councils of both the BBC and IBA. Currently, he is a member of the Employment Appeals Tribunal, the TUC General Council, the advisory committee of The Prince's Youth Business Trust, and a non-Executive Director of the Bank of England.
He is involved with higher education through being on the Board of Governors of South Bank University; a Trustee of the Open University Foundation, and the member of the Courts of Northampton and Luton Universities. He is also Chancellor of the University of Technology in Jamaica.
Morris was awarded the Order of Jamaica in 2002 and received a knighthood in the 2003 Queen's birthday honours list. In April 2006 it was announced that Morris would take a seat in the House of Lords.