We are extremely saddened of the news of the tragic death of Stefan Melnyk (Стефан Мельник ). Christopher Ford pays tribute to our friend Stefan.
A founding member of the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, Stefan was a dedicated trade unionist and a socialist. A bus driver, Stefan was an activist of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers for over 15 years.
He was the RMT Central Line West Bus Workers Co-ordinator and actively represented workers across the industry, receiving an award for his work for members presented by former General Secretary Bob Crow.
Stefan was a generous and kind person, working as a part-time bus driver he dedicated many hours of his time across different workplaces and industries assisting his fellow workers. When the Independent Workers Union was founded by mainly migrant cleaners, Stefan was a regular at picket lines, attending meetings and representing cleaners. A speaker of Ukrainian, he assisted with translation of migrant workers.
Stefan was of Ukrainian heritage, his father who was taken to France by the Germans escaped from the Nazi’s after the Allies landed at Normandy. Stefan actively supported the work of the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, attending protests and regularly translating information of the Ukrainian trade union movement. Stefan played a key role in helping build solidarity with Ukrainian trade unions including for the Free Trade Union of Railway Workers of Ukraine (VPZU) who were in struggle at the Kurenivsky trolleybus depot in Kyiv.
Stefan was not only an activist but a thinker – he had a keen interest in Ukrainian labour history, he actively assisted in translating a number of historical documents for publication of the Revolutionary Ukrainian Party, the Ukrainian Social Democratic Workers Party and the opposition Ukrainian Communist Party during the revolutionary period. Stefan was eager to see the forgotten history of the left of the Ukrainian revolution brought to light, he translated Mykola Halahan’s essay on the ‘Liquidation of the UKP’ and wished to see more on the role of Ukrainians in the famous Potemkin mutiny in 1905.
Stefan died in tragic circumstances, after being hit by a car in, Acton, on Sunday 22 March. The driver was arrested at the scene and was charged with murder.
We send our condolences and solidarity to all his family, friends and the brothers and sisters of his depot and the RMT.
May he rest in peace! – Вічна Йому пам‘ять!