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She has served in the role in an interim position since February 2020 and has led the union movement in Wales through the Covid 19 crisis.

Shavanah is the first BAME General Secretary of the Wales TUC. She joined from the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), where she was the Welsh Secretary from 2013.

The Wales TUC is the umbrella body for the trade unions and represents 48 affiliate unions and 400,000 trade union members in Wales.

In addition, Shavanah will also be playing a UK-wide role in leading the TUC’s drive to increase the representation of BAME reps in the union movement alongside the TUC’s anti-racism taskforce.

She replaces Martin Mansfield – who held the post for 12 years from 2008.

"Our trade union movement has an absolutely vital role to play in ensuring that we build a better, fairer Wales as we come out of the Covid pandemic. I’m delighted that I’ll be able to play my part as General Secretary of the Wales TUC.

“The crisis over the last year has shone a spotlight on the deep inequalities in our society. Yet again it has been BAME workers, working class workers, and young workers who have been exposed to the greatest hardships.

“But I believe that the pandemic has also opened many people’s eyes. And there a growing desire for genuine change. As trade unions, we need to seize that opportunity to continue to build, grow, and win on key issues workers care about.

“We have an ambitious, practical agenda and we look forward to working with the Welsh Government, employer side and wider social partners to deliver fair work for workers across Wales.”

Editors note

About Shavanah Taj

Prior to joining PCS as a full-time officer in 2002, Shavanah worked in retail, call centres and the third sector.

From 2018 to 2019, she served as the President of the Wales TUC.

Cardiff born and raised, Shavanah grew up steeped in the trade union movement. Her father was a Health and Safety representative in the steel works.

“He always encouraged us to stand up for ourselves and stand with others in their time of need” Shavanah says.

Shavanah is passionate about equality, social justice and human rights. She is a patron of Show Racism the Red Card Wales, and a trustee for the Henna Foundation which supports victims and survivors of domestic abuse and honour-based violence. She’s a trustee for Fio, a grassroots theatre group that encourages young working-class people to engage with arts and culture. She is also a trustee for the People’s Health Trust and the Bevan Foundation.

Shavanah still lives in Cardiff and is married with two young children, aged 8 and 10. 

Watch Shavanah’s speech at the recent Wales TUC Congress here: 

Wales TUC Congress 2021: Shavanah Taj // General Secretary's Address - YouTube