Vic jointed the Waterside Workers’ Federation before his 21st birthday, in January 1965 and rose to become WA Branch Secretary.
Vic played a critical role in the amalgamation of the unions to form the MUA. He became a Deputy National Secretary in 1993 and was Assistant National Secretary between 1995 and 1999.
MUA National Secretary, Paddy Crumlin, said Vic was one of the leading lights of the labour movement.
“Vic was a political activist and internationalist of the highest regard and he devoted his life to the union, the international working class, and socialism,” Mr Crumlin said.
“Vic was part of the leadership that formed the MUA and he was an essential player in developing our industry and political campaigns over many decades. Even after his stroke, he retained a strong interest in all matters related to the union and he will be sadly missed by us all.”
Former MUA National Secretary, John Coombs, said Vic should be remembered for his strength of belief and for his tireless dedication to the labour cause.
“Vic was a keen intellect, extremely well-read and worldly, but he put his knowledge to good use. He was a thoughtful and passionate person who dedicated his life to the working class. Amongst his many successful campaigns included winning compensation for victims of asbestosis and their families and helping to forge new legislation to protect victims,” Mr Coombs said.
“Vic played a pivotal role during the 1998 waterfront dispute but he involved himself in a wide range of struggles, including occupational safety and was briefly imprisoned for his activism against the Vietnam War.”
Vic served as a member of the ACTU Occupational Health and Safety Committee (1990-1998), the Asbestos Disease Society of NSW, the Environment Protection Agency Hazardous Waste Policy Reference Group and the ACTU trade union aid group, Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad Inc. Vic also served as a director of the Stevedoring Employees Retirement Fund which Business Review Weekly listed as the top industry fund in 1998 and as a member of the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association Australian Executive Committee.
Vic was a long-standing member of the Communist Party until its dissolution in 1991. His parents, Joyce and Jim, were similarly devoted members of the CPA since the Great Depression. Prior to that, Vic was a member of the Eureka Youth League.
In more recent years, Vic has been involved in the Search Foundation, which is dedicated to the socialist tradition of struggling for workers’ rights and human rights.
Vic passed away on 31 October 2012, at age 68, and is survived by his two daughters.
Details of his funeral will be posted once they are determined.
Vale Comrade Slater, a working class hero and leader, now at rest.
The funeral will be at 10:30am on Tuesday November 6
Eastern Suburbs Crematorium - 12 Military Road, Matraville NSW 2036