Paul Nowak is currently Deputy General Secretary of the TUC and will become General Secretary Designate at Congress in Brighton this September, before officially taking the post in January 2023.
Paul has been an active trade unionist and campaigner his whole working life.
He first became a union member when he worked part-time at Asda aged 17.
Paul worked in a call centre for Cheshire County Council’s bus information line in the late nineties, after working on an agency contract in a BT call centre. He also worked as a hotel night porter. Before becoming a trade union official, Paul had always been employed on temporary and agency contracts, so understands the insecurity of never having a permanent contract.
Paul was a member of the first intake of the TUC's Organising Academy in 1998 – alongside Sharon Graham, now General Secretary of Unite and Roz Foyer, the General Secretary of the Scottish TUC. Aged 26, he became an organiser for BIFU, the financial services union (now part of Unite).
In 2000, Paul joined the TUC’s staff, later becoming Regional Secretary for the north of England and subsequently Head of Organising, reporting to the General Secretary. In 2013 he was appointed TUC Assistant General Secretary, and in 2016 Deputy General Secretary.
At the TUC, Paul led the campaign against the government's plans for regional pay in the public sector, introduced the Leading Change programme to develop the skills of senior trade unionists, and worked closely with member unions to defend public sector pensions.
Over the years, Paul has worked closely with unions and employers to negotiate successful resolutions to major disputes including at the Royal Mail and British Airways.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Paul led union efforts to improve the government’s safe working guidance with significant success, ensuring millions of workers had a safer environment to work in. He supported Frances O’Grady in securing furlough, and led campaigns for sector support for the cultural industries, aviation and transport.
Paul is married to Vicky. They have three grown-up children and live on the Wirral, in Merseyside. Paul is of mixed heritage and is the grandson of immigrants: his grandfathers came to the UK during the Second World War from Poland and China respectively, before settling and raising families in Liverpool. He is a lifelong Everton fan, and in his spare time can either be found spending time with family, playing the guitar with friends, or exploring Britain’s canals.
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