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Obituary: Geraldine Airlie

16 Jun

It is with great sorrow I write to notify you of the death of Geraldine Airlie, a true friend to all who were lucky enough to know her and a true trade unionist.


Geraldine died on Saturday June 11th at 10.30 pm after a dignified and courageous battle against cancer. She was only 46.

Geraldine joined Thales (then called Barr & Stroud) in 1984 armed with an ONC in electronics from Falkirk College and served an apprenticeship in electrical engineering. During her apprenticeship she gained an HNC and won the Francis Morrison Trust’s Apprentice of the Year in 1987 as the first woman to win this award.

She studied for 5 years part time at Caledonian University receiving an Honours Degree in Engineering and Micro Electronics in 1993.

Always a union member she became an MSF Shop Steward in 1991 and then MSF Convenor in 1999. During this period she taught at the Trades Union Studies Centre in Reid Kerr College in Paisley two nights a week teaching shop stewards computer skills.

In the workplace she was integral in the introduction of many of the terms and conditions enjoyed by members in Thales today.

She gave up the Trade Union Committee in 2005, but never the union, to spend more time with her son Adam, and husband Andrew, but was still a behind the scenes activist right up to becoming unwell and even then offering advice from her house when it was needed.

How she managed to do everything is unbelievable from being a Mother, Wife, Daughter, Shop Steward, Tutor, Software Engineer and a true friend to everyone who knew her.

Our thoughts and sympathy are with Geraldine’s Husband Andrew and Son Adam and her Mum and Dad, Cath and Peter and the immediate family.

For everyone who knew her she will never be forgotten.

by Andy Johnston, On behalf of the Thales Optronicss Trade Union Committee.