Deputy General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union Dave Ward started off at Royal Mail 26 years ago as a messenger boy.
Ward: known for being a left-winger
Today he is the architect of the union's industrial strategy and at the forefront of negotiating pay rises and jobs for 160,000 Royal Mail workers.
"He has a very strong connection with the postal workers which is what drives him," said a spokesman for the union.
"He is very at one with them which has enabled him to identify with their demands on pay and conditions."
Mr Ward, 44, elected as deputy General Secretary this year on an aggressive anti-government ticket is associated with a group of left-leaning union figures - the so-called "awkward squad".
But unlike some union leaders, he has not argued for cutting ties with Labour, although the CWU has cut its donations to the party by half.
Long time member
Having joined the union immediately upon joining the Post Office - at which time he earned the princely sum of £26 a week - Lambeth-born Mr Ward became a member of the Tooting branch in 1981 and then its secretary a year later.
By 1996, he was representative of the London division, a post he held until 2000.
He rose further through the ranks to become national secretary and championed the right of London postal workers in their struggle for a £4,000-a-year London weighting.
A blues guitarist and ardent Chelsea fan, his favourite meal apparently is pie and mash.
He has four children - between the ages of 7 and 22 - and grandchildren.