Roger Lyons was the General Secretary of Manufacturing, Science, and Finance (MSF) trade union from 1992 and re-elected leader of the union in 1997. When the union merged with the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union to form Amicus in 2002 he subsequently became one of the Joint General Secretaries of Amicus. Lyons was a founding member of the anti-Apartheid movement and nominated Nelson Mandela for his first international honour as honorary president of University College London Union (UCLU). Lyons organised the first South African Scholarship at a British university (UCL). Lyons was an observer for the European Union in the first-ever free elections in South Africa.