The Illawarra union movement lost a stalwart when Merv Nixon passed away after a long illnes.
Mr Nixon had been battling motor neurone disease over the last two years and passed away at Bulli Hospital.
He served as the secretary for the South Coast Labour Council from 1967 to 1987.
In his time he opposed Australia's involvement in Vietnam, fought against racism, worked with local Aboriginal groups and supported women's push for workplace equality.
"Merv Nixon emerged as a colossus ... a trade union man who would never compromise principle and surrender the struggle until a fair and just deal had been struck," the Mercury wrote as part of a tribute to Mr Nixon.
Surprisingly, he also had a good relationship with the city's employers - the very people he had to push for a better deal for workers.
"It was often said by business people around the Illawarra that they could always trust Merv," the Mercury wrote.
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