By Roger and Sarah Cox
Abdul arrived in Britain on a stretcher, a starved four stone wreck after the defeat of the Sudanese Communist Party in the 1970s. He had been a student organiser for the party and was part of a student uprising that was crushed. He was tortured by the police.
Abdul was a man of considerable audacity, skill and experience. He became a bus driver in Harrow and it was not long before he won the position of Unite union rep. Very quickly he organised the branch, involving the other drivers. He understood the importance of fighting and winning on seemingly minor issues like facilities for prayers and meal breaks, as well as major issues like wage equality. Abdul stood out among bus reps as a fighter, always wanting to have a go, even if sometimes it might not be the best thing to do.
He joined the Socialist Workers Party he said, because the comrade standing outside his garage week after week selling Socialist Worker and giving out leaflets reminded him of himself in his youth. When Nazis tried to protest in Harrow he mobilised bus workers to join the anti-fascist demonstration in their uniforms. It was a great example of how to organise joint action. Before long he faced opposition from management and he was victimised.
The process of industrial tribunal hearings and securing support from Unite exhausted him and took their toll. Abdul suffered a heart attack followed by the loss of kidney function and suffered increasing ill health until last week when he passed away.
He studied engineering and during his illness returned to another passion. He designed and tried to create an interest in his schemes for harnessing tidal power. This is what was so important about Abdul—to the end he was always a fighter, not just for better conditions in the daily grind of our working lives, but also to build a better world for us all.