Will Paynter

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William Thomas Paynter (6 December 1903 – 11 December 1984) was a Welsh miners' leader involved in the hunger marches of the 1930s.

Paynter was born in Cardiff, where he had a basic education before going to work at a colliery at the age of fourteen. By the age of eighteen, he was working on the coal-face, and soon joined the Communist Party. He was instrumental in setting up the National Unemployed Workers' Movement, and in 1937 he joined the International Brigade to fight in the Spanish Civil War. In 1951 he became President of the South Wales Miners' Federation, and from 1959 to 1969 he was General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers. He was also a member of Acas.

He featured in a programme in the BBC television series All Our Working Lives, which was broadcast in the year of his death and discussed the changing nature of the coal industry.


  • Trade Unions and the Problems of Change (1970)
  • My Generation (autobiography) (1972)
Political offices
Preceded by
Alf Davies
President of the South Wales Miners' Federation
Succeeded by
William Whitehead
Preceded by
Arthur Horner
General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers
Succeeded by
Lawrence Daly