A former union shop steward who helped lead the sit-in during the industrial dispute at the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders has died aged 80

Sammy Barr was among a group of young union leaders, including Jimmy Reid, Jimmy Airlie and Sammy Gilmore, who led 8500 workersat the yards in protest about under investment in the early-1970s.

The former welder died yesterday at the Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow from pneumonia after a short battle with lung cancer.

He was still actively involved in trade unionism, as president of the retired members' association for the GMB.

Richard Leonard, political officer for the GMB in Scotland, said: "He was one of the outstanding trade unionists of his generation. His passing marks the end of an era. He leaves behind a legacy of great memories but also a reminder to workers the world over that if you stand firm you can win."

Mr Barr stood as a parliamentary candidate for the Communist Party when they were fielding members in Glasgow in the 1970s but later joined the Labour Party.

His grandson Lee Carson, 28, described him as a private man who "believed in the rights of working people". He said: "He was very principled.

"He was always campaigning for various different things. A few years ago he helped to save a park that was going to get closed down in Partick.

"He was a member of the Labour Party up until he died. He was old Labour.

"He knew Tony Benn quite well and I know that he'd spoken to Gordon Brown recently as well."

Mr Barr, who lived in Partick, Glasgow, is survived by his widow Janet, his four children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.