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TUC General Council members

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Research and reports
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The General Council of the Trades Union Congress is the body which governs the TUC between its annual Congresses (read more about the role of the General Council).

* Those members who are also members of the Executive Committee are marked with an asterisk.


Dave Allan - Unite

Dave AllanDave has been a trades unionist since he joined the AEU as an apprentice at the age of 16. He is now also a disability campaigner where he is Chair of Unite's Disabled Members Committee.

As a member of the TUC's Disabled Workers Committee for the past 10 years, he is proud of the role he and his recently passed away colleague, Sean McGovern, played in influencing TUC policy and campaigning for a decent social security system.

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Mary Bousted – National Education Union

Dr Mary Bousted

Dr Mary Bousted is joint general secretary of NEU. Mary represents the interests of her members to the government, and to a wide variety of other stakeholders. As the education union, NEU leads the debate on key educational issues with strong policy positions on, for example, assessment and curriculum changes; school accountability and school structures.

Mary contributes regular articles for newspapers and education journals, and appears frequently on national media. She sits on the executive committee of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and was a member of the ACAS board. Mary is also an accomplished public speaker and has debated at the Oxford Union.

Mary previously worked in higher education at York University, Edge Hill University and at Kingston University where she was Head of the School of Education. Prior to this Mary was a Head of English, and English teacher in comprehensive schools in North London.

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Gail Cartmail – Unite

Gail CartmailGail Cartmail is Unite the Union Assistant General Secretary: Finance, Construction, Energy, Public Services and Community, Youth and Not for Profit; her roles within Unite have included Head of Health, National Officer Equality and Diversity and Regional Officer.

Gail represents Unite on the TUC General Council and Executive Committee and is a member of the TUC's Union Learn Board, TUC spokeswoman for International Development and member of the Labour Party's National Policy Forum.

Previous employment included Principal Officer, local government, specialising in economic development. Prior to this Gail worked in the Graphics sector.

Equality, justice and fairness are values that Gail strives to embed in all her areas of work and engagement.

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Mike Clancy – Prospect

Mike Clancy

Mike Clancy is the General Secretary of PROSPECT union representing 140,000 professionals. In 2017 he was re-elected to serve a further five-year term.

Mike combines 30 years as a trade union officer with longstanding membership of the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Mike was appointed to the ACAS Council in 2016 and the Nuclear Industry Council in 2017

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Ruth Cross - Usdaw

Ruth is Equality Officer at Usdaw and represents Usdaw on the TUC Women’s Committee.

Ruth advises reps, members and officials on equality issues and ensures Usdaw’s bargaining and campaigning agendas reflect the concerns of all its members. Ruth has developed a number of Usdaw campaigns including mental health, work life balance, violence against women and No Room for Racism.

Ruth is developing Usdaw’s work on young parents and carers, linking in with the TUC’s Reaching Out to Young Workers project.

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Michelle Codrington-Rogers - NASUWT

Michelle Codrington-RogersMichelle Codrington-Rogers was born and raised in Oxford. She was elected as the first full-time NUS Black Students Officer before training as a teacher of Citizenship. She became involved in trade union activity as a member of NASUWT-The teachers Union, first as a school rep, then as a local secretary and as Oxfordshire Federation secretary. Michelle has been elected to the TUC Race Relations committee since 2011 and chaired the annual TUC Black Workers Conference in 2018.

Michelle was elected as a national officer the NASUWT-The Teachers Union in 2018 and started her term as National President in 2020.

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Kevin Courtney - National Education Union

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney was elected as General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers on 15 July 2016. Prior to that, Kevin was elected as Deputy General Secretary on 28 January 2010. On 1st September 2017 the NUT amalgamated with the ATL to become the NEU – the National Education Union. Kevin is now Joint General Secretary of the NEU along with Dr Mary Bousted.

Kevin was born and educated in Pontypridd, Wales where he attended Trefforest Primary and Coedy-Lan Comprehensive. He went on to study physics at Imperial College, London and began his teaching career in the physics department at Camden school for Girls in 1983, where he taught until becoming the NUT branch secretary in 1990.

Kevin has led significant campaigns in Camden and London over maternity pay, overseas teachers, recruitment and retention payments, London and Fringe allowances, LGBT history month and anti-racism. He was elected in 2005 to the executive committee of SERTUC (Southern and Eastern Regional TUC) becoming one of its vice presidents at the same time.

Kevin has been the trades union liaison officer for the Anti Academies Alliance, a campaigning organisation which brings the classroom teacher and support staff unions together with parents in campaigning for a good local school for all children.

He was the founding secretary of School Teachers Opposed to Performance Pay, which organised a significant demonstration against the introduction of PRP in 1999.

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Manuel Cortes – Transport Salaried Staffs' Association

Manuel CortesManuel Cortes has been General Secretary of TSSA since 2011. Prior to this, he held a number of paid positions within his union, having previously worked, among others, for Amnesty International as a campaigner. As a socialist, he has been actively involved in the labour and trade union movement from a very early age. The fight for another world, a better world has never been more important as ordinary people are forced to foot the bill for bankers' greed.

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Neil Derrick - GMB

Neil DerrickNeil Derrick has been an active trade unionist all his working life, joining the GMWU as a teenager in the North East.   He joined Yorkshire & North Derbyshire region as legal officer in 1994 and was elected as an organiser soon afterwards.  

In 2000 Neil was appointed senior organiser. Prior to his appointment as Regional Secretary Neil led the Public Services Section and built a reputation as a tough negotiator and committed campaigner. 

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Mark Dickinson – Nautilus International

Mark DickinsonBefore joining Nautilus (then known as NUMAST) in 2000, Mark Dickinson served at sea as a navigating officer and went on to work for the International Transport Workers' Federation latterly as Assistant General Secretary with responsibility for maritime activities.

Mark was elected General Secretary of Nautilus International in May 2009 upon the merger of Nautilus UK and Nautilus NL – creating a new transboundary trade union representing maritime professionals in the British and Dutch maritime industries. In 2011, Swiss maritime professionals joined Nautilus.

Mark was re-elected Nautilus GS in April 2017. He has served on the General Council since 2009. 

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Maria Exall – Communication Workers' Union

Maria ExallMaria Exall is the Chair of the TUC LGBT Committee and is elected to represent Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered trade unionists on the General Council. She is the Branch Secretary of CWU Greater London Combined.

Maria is also a Vice President of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom and currently Chair of the Cutting Edge Consortium. She is a member of the Labour Representation Committee.

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Sue Ferns – Prospect

Sue Ferns

Sue Ferns is Senior Deputy General Secretary of Prospect.

Sue's responsibilities in Prospect include leading the union's work on Brexit; the changing world of work; energy policy; and on science, engineering and sustainability.

Sue has been a member of the TUC General Council since 2005, Deputy Chair of the Women’s Committee and a TUC Aid trustee. She has been an active member of the Trade Union Sustainable Development Advisory Committee since its inception, and is the General Council's lead on environment and sustainability.

She is also Chair of Unions 21.

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Martin Furlong - College of Podiatry

Martin Furlong

Martin is the Head of Employment Relations at the College of Podiatry and has previously worked as a union officer in  the airline industry, telecoms and the civil service before moving onto to his current role covering members in the NHS and private healthcare.

Prior to becoming a trade union officer Martin was a lay rep for many years in the finance industry and joined a union on his first day at work in 1982.

When not working at the College Martin is a keen music fan and promotes live music events in London.

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Larry Flanagan – Educational Institute of Scotland

Larry FlanaganLarry Flanagan took up the post of General Secretary of the EIS, Scotland's main education union, in April 2012, following 33 years as a classroom teacher. Prior to appointment he was Principal Teacher of English at Hillhead High School, Glasgow.

Larry has had a career long association with the EIS: as an activist, school representative, local office bearer, Council and Executive Committee member and Convener of the EIS Education Committee.

He is a graduate of the University of Stirling.

Larry is also a member of the General Council of the STUC.

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Steve Gillan – POA

Steve GillanSteve Gillan was elected as General Secretary to the POA in May 2010. Previously, he held National positions such as Assistant General Secretary 2000- 2001, National Vice Chairman 2002-2006 and National Finance Officer 2006- 2010. A POA member for 24 years, holding local office as a trade union official whilst at Chelmsford, Bullwood Hall and Pentonville respectively.

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Charlie Gray – GMB

Charlie GrayCharlie Gray represents Young Workers on the General Council.  
Charlie joined the GMB whilst working as a Lunchtime Assistant at a local Secondary School and as an Exam Invigilator. 
Since joining the GMB Charlie has been elected as Chair of GMB Northern Young Members Network and on to the GMB Young Members National Network Committee. Charlie is currently a Young Member's observer to the GMB's Central Executive Council.

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Jo Grady – UCU

Jo GradyDr Jo Grady was elected General Secretary of the University and College Union in 2019. Previously she had been elected as member of the UCU National Executive Committee and the National Dispute Committee for USS pensions, and had served as a branch rep and officer at the universities of Leicester and Sheffield, where she was a Senior Lecturer in Employment Relations.

She was born in 1984 to a striking miner and, having attended Wakefield College, completed a PhD at the University of Lancaster on trade union responses to neoliberal pensions reforms. Alongside her work for UCU, she helps organise feminist anti-fascist assemblies and has served as a trustee of a domestic violence charity.

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Ian Lawrence - Napo

Ian Lawrence

Elected as General Secretary in the summer of 2013. Ian’s appointment was the first for many years of a senior trade union leader from the BAME community. He secured another term of office having been re-elected in June 2018.

Ian first joined Napo as Assistant General Secretary in 2008 from the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS). This followed service with its predecessor unions PTC and IRSF as an elected local and national representative and then full time official. His PCS career included a spell as Group Secretary to the 80,000 strong Revenue and Customs section of the union, and three years working in the Criminal Justice Sector. He spent two years working in the PCS Commercial Sector, negotiating with a wide range of private sector companies on behalf of members transferred there from the Civil Service on TUPE terms.

Ian’s current role includes being Chief Negotiator for Napo members working within the National Probation Service, the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies, Cafcass and the Probation Board of Northern Ireland. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the General Federation of Trade Unions.

Ian was elected unopposed to the TUC General Council in September 2018. He has represented Napo members by way of regular media appearances, speeches to various seminars covering a range of Criminal Justice issues and as a visiting presenter on Industrial Relations issues to CIPD students at the University of Westminster.

Ian lives in Biggin Hill, Kent.

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Paddy Lillis - Usdaw

Paddy Lillis is the General Secretary of Usdaw.  He was elected General Secretary of the 435,000 strong Union in November 2017, taking up office on 2 July 2018.

Paddy served as Deputy General Secretary of Usdaw for 14 years.  He co-ordinated the Union’s work on the very successful Organising Academy.  In the last 14 years, the Union’s recruitment and organising strategy has helped Usdaw to grow by more than 100,000 members.  Paddy is also a member of the Labour Party NEC.

Paddy has been an Usdaw member for over 35 years.  He was appointed to the role of Usdaw Area Organiser in 1989.  He worked as an Area Organiser at the Union's Bristol office for 8 years before becoming the Divisional Officer for South Wales and Western Division in 1997.  He was elected as Deputy General Secretary in 2004.

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Brian Linn - Aegis

Brian Linn

Brian Linn has been a full time Trade Union Officer since 2005 and General Secretary of Aegis the Union since 2010. During that time he has been at the forefront of Aegis's evolution.

Working with the Deputy General Secretary, he designed and delivered a five year strategy to support Aegis' transition from a single employer staff association to an independent, TUC and STUC affiliated union which now represents members in a number of large financial institutions.

Aegis was further strengthened when two other unions Surge and Yisa merging with Aegis in 2014 and 2015.

Brian is chair of EWC's, on the GFTU executive, on the Union Learn board, SUL board and LGBT+ committee.

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Jane Loftus - CWU

Jane Loftus

Jane Loftus has been an active member in the CWU since she joined in 1982. She has been involved at all levels of the CWU and was elected in 2002 to the NEC and Postal Executive. In 2002, she was elected as the first woman Chair of the Postal Constituency and National President. She believes in fighting unions, organised in the workplace to protect and deliver changes for working people.

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Annette Mansell-Green – BDA

Annette Mansell-GreenAnnette is Head of Employment Relations at the British Dietetic Association (BDA). She is responsible for leading all aspects of trade union work for the association. She first became an active trade unionist at the age of 16 when as a working musician she joined the musicians’ union.

Annette has been both an elected and full-time trade union official for almost 30 years, primarily in the public sector and most recently in the NHS.

Having a long history of active equalities campaigning, Annette is passionate about achieving a fair and equal society for all, both in the UK and internationally. She has a strong commitment to a sustainable public services, particularly the NHS and education. She has a lifelong belief in the value of the arts and the contribution it can bring to achieving a civilised and questioning society.

In her spare time Annette continues to perform as a violinist as much as she can.

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Heather McKenzie NEU

Heather McKenzieHeather is a NEC member of the NEU, who represents her union on the TUC Women’s Committee and the TUC. As a secondary school teacher and manager, her main experience was in special educational needs and inclusion. She has held various roles locally, regionally and nationally as well as represent the NEU internationally. Heather hopes she is seen as a passionate campaigner and organiser, most recently committed to supporting women into leadership roles in work and in unions. She is a support counsellor and trustee for her local rape crisis charity.

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Susan Matthews – Unite the Union

Susan MatthewsI am an Executive Council member of Unite the Union representing all Black, and Asian Ethnic Minority (BAEM) members and the National Chair of the Unite National and Regional Black and Asian Ethnic Minority Committee. I am devoted and an active union member for nearly two decades.

I have been instrumental in UNITE in bringing about changes for Women, BAEM, Disability, LGBT, Youth, Community members and Retired members and implementation of BAME (Black, and Asian Minority Ethnic) BAME Engagement Strategy that delivery and engage, motivate and mobilise BAME throughout the wider community. As a campaigner, I have supported various campaigns and demonstrations including fighting against racism and fascism, and the Tory Government austerity measures.

As a General Council Member, I will:

Ensure that issues affecting our Black and Asian Ethnic Minority membership are addressed.  Continue to work in partnership with all trade unions to promote, represent and raise awareness and understanding of BAEM issues while respecting the diversity.

Promoting deeper thinking and more productively impactful action on equalities, fairness and respect for all

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Gloria Mills CBE – UNISON

Gloria Mills CBE

Gloria Mills is National Secretary for equalities at UNISON and a member of the Senior Management Group.

She is a past president of the TUC – the first Black woman to be elected to this position and has held several senior positions in over 25 years working in trade unions. Gloria is a formidable campaigner and negotiator for workers’ and trade union rights, equality and human rights.

Gloria has served as a Commissioner on the Commission for Racial Equality and Commission on Older Women. Gloria is a member of the Executive Committee, Women’s Committee, Chair of the Race Relations Committee and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

She has been instrumental in campaigning for EU competence on equality and securing the European Union Article 13 Treaty of Amsterdam Race and Employment Framework Directives; leading development and implementation of work on the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and Task Group and Unison's Equality and Race Strategy.

Gloria has a Masters degree in Business Administration and has written a range of articles and publications on equality, employment and institutional racism. In 2005, she was awarded the CBE for work on equal opportunities and the MBE in 1999 for services to the trade union movement.

In June 2018, Gloria was included in the Black Achievers Wall by Liverpool Museums

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Ged Nichols – Accord

Ged Nichols

General Secretary of Accord since 1993 now representing members in the Lloyds Banking Group, Halifax plc, the Bank of Scotland, Scottish Widows, TSB, Sainsbury’s Bank and Equitable Life.

Member of TUC’s Executive Committee since 2012.

Also a trustee of TUC’s pension scheme, a director of Trade Union Fund Managers, executive member of IPA and a council member at Ruskin College.

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Dave Penman – FDA

Dave PenmanDave Penman was elected unopposed as FDA General Secretary in May 2012, and took up office on 2 July.

After leaving school, he started work as a civil servant in the Inland Revenue, before joining what is now the Department for Work and Pensions. He became increasingly active in his union – the National Union of Civil and Public Servants (NUCPS – now PCS) – and the Scottish Trade Union Congress, including serving on its General Council from 1992 to 1995.

In 1995, Dave left the civil service to become an organiser for the NUCPS, before joining the FDA staff as a national officer in 2000. He was subsequently promoted to the senior management team as Head of Operations, before becoming Deputy General Secretary.

As FDA Deputy General Secretary, he had responsibility for managing the civil service bargaining structures and operational side of the union. He led on all civil service-wide policy issues and negotiations for the FDA including pay, conditions of service, the Senior Civil Service and pensions.

Dave was elected onto the TUC General Council in September 2012. He has a strong interest in long-term structural public service reform, particularly around reward.

Dave enjoys theatre, crime fiction novels and following Partick Thistle football club.

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Roy Rickhuss – Community

Roy Rickhuss

Roy Rickhuss is General Secretary of Community. He became General Secretary Elect on 20 September 2013. In 2018, Roy was elected unopposed as General Secretary of Community for a second time. 

Born and brought up in Wolverhampton, Roy first joined the ISTC, one of Community's founding unions, when he started working in a steel tube rolling mill in Wolverhampton in 1979.

Roy joined the ISTC, a founder union of Community, when he started work at Monmore Tubes in Wolverhampton in 1979. In 2004, the National Executive Council appointed Roy as Assistant General Secretary of the ISTC. Roy represents Community on the Labour Party's National Constitutional Committee and sits on the Finance and General Purposes Committee of the General Federation of Trade Unions. He is a member of the Textiles, Leather and Footwear social dialogue committees, Semta (the UK sector skills council for manufacturing) Metals Sector Strategy Group and UK Steel Council.

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Patrick Roach - NASUWT

Dr Patrick Roach

Dr Patrick Roach is Deputy General Secretary at NASUWT - The Teachers’ Union. He was formerly a teacher and lecturer in sociology, politics and equalities in further and higher education. 

Patrick is an elected member of the World Executive Board of Education International.

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Mark Serwotka – Public and Commercial Services Union

Mark Serwotka

Mark Serwotka was first elected as General Secretary of PCS in 2000 straight from the ‘shop floor’. Starting work at 16 in the DHSS as a clerical officer, Mark served in the benefits service for 21 years, including seven years as a part time worker to enable him to look after his two children.

As well as Cardiff City FC, Mark’s passions include workers’ rights and protecting our public services from cuts and privatisation. After having a heart transplant in December 2016, he also recognises more than ever the need to defend our NHS.

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Jon Skewes – The Royal College of Midwives

Jon SkewesJon Skewes is the Director of Policy, Employment Relations and Communications for the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). He is the RCM lead negotiator in the NHS and is responsible for external relationships. Vice Chair of Unions21 and a CIPD Fellow he lives in North London.

Jon has extensive experience as a negotiator, campaigner and organiser across public services.

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Liz Snape MBE – UNISON

Liz SnapeLiz Snape has been Assistant General Secretary since November 2011 and has overseen UNISON's current recruitment drive. A devoted trade unionist of 26 years, political campaigning has been at the heart of all Liz's work at UNISON.

Liz worked as UNISON's Director of Policy and Public Affairs for five years prior to her promotion. Liz has contributed to numerous areas of union work; she has worked as a communications officer, a policy officer and a legal officer. Liz has served on the Health and Safety Commission,

the Women and Work Commission and continues to represent UNISON on the TUC Executive and General Council.

Liz has two daughters and is a committed Labour Party activist in her constituency of Enfield Southgate.

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Jane Stewart – Unite

Jane StewartJane Stewart has worked for Unilever Port Sunlight as a Chemical Process Technologist for 33 years and joined the trade union soon after she began employment.

She is Convenor for Unite and is the National Women's representative on the Executive Council. Jane also chairs the National Women's sector committee.

Jane has sat on employment tribunals for a number of years, which has given her first hand knowledge of the serious problems, the movement in general and women in particular are faced with regarding unfair treatment of employees.

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Claire Sullivan – Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Claire Sullivan - CSPClaire Sullivan took up post as the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy’s Director of Employment Relations and Union Services in October 2014 .

A physiotherapist herself, Claire worked in the London NHS for 10 years, during which she was active as a CSP steward, before joining the CSP as Health Safety Officer in January 1995. Throughout her working life, as both a physiotherapist and committed trade unionist, Claire has maintained a passionate interest in the rights of disabled people at work. Claire has just completed ten years as a TUC representative on the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council and is also the Vice-Chair of Governors at a large further education college.

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Horace Trubridge – Musicians' Union

Horace TrubridgeHorace’s career as a musician comprised of eight years with the band ‘Darts', a musical director role in the West End hit ‘Yakety Yak' and a busy period as a session musician.

He began working for the Musicians’ Union in 1990 and became London Official in 1997, followed by Assistant General Secretary in 2003. In April 2017, Horace was elected as MU General Secretary.

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Steve Turner – Unite

Steve Turner

Steve is Assistant General Secretary at Unite. He sits on the TUC Executive Committee and General Council and is the TUC spokesperson on Europe, representing the TUC on the European Trade Union Confederation. Further, he represents Unite on the Executive and Management Committees of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

His union responsibilities include the industrial leadership of Unite’s Manufacturing Sectors alongside national responsibility for the development of the union’s community strategy and retired members organisation.

Steve leads on the coordination of support and solidarity for workers engaged in strategic disputes; both within Unite and the wider TUC / Labour movement and is the National Chair of the Peoples’ Assembly against Austerity.

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Dave Ward – Communication Workers' Union

Dave WardDave Ward became an activist in the Trade Union in 1976, progressing through the Postal Union holding a variety of positions at local and regional level. Member of the National Executive Committee in 2000, National Officer in 2001, Deputy General Secretary of the Postal Side of the CWU in June 2003, General Secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union June 2015.

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Simon Weller – Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen

Simon WellerSimon Weller started with British Rail as a teenager in 1987 and joined ASLEF immediately. After working as a driver's assistant, he qualified as a train driver in 1989. Since then, Simon served as a branch official, LDC (Shop Steward), company negotiator, Executive Committee member and left train driving in 2009.

He is now ASLEF's elected Assistant General Secretary responsible for covering for the General Secretary in his absence as well as education, equalities, pensions, recruitment and inter-union relations

Simon has been a member of the TUC General Council since the 2011 Congress.

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Paul Whiteman - NAHT

Paul WhitemanPaul was elected General Secretary at the NAHT school leaders union in September 2017. He had been the Director of Representation and Advice at the NAHT for five years before.

Paul has been a trade unionist all his working life joining the banking union BiFU (later Unifi and now Unite). Paul was active in his union all his banking career and was Chair of the Lloyds TSB National Committee when he left to become an official at the FDA. Paul spent ten years at the FDA before leaving to join the NAHT.

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Tony Woodhouse – Unite

Tony WoodhouseTony Woodhouse is Chair of the Executive Council of Unite the Union representing the North West region. He is the Chair of the TUC Executive Committee.

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Matt Wrack – Fire Brigades Union

Matt WrackMatt Wrack is General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union.

Matt was born in Manchester 1962 and joined the London Fire Brigade in 1983. He worked at various fire stations in East London and quickly became involved in the Fire Brigades Union, becoming a Branch Secretary in 1984. He served as a member of the FBU London Regional Committee 1988-2005, became London FBU Regional Organiser in 2002 and was elected Regional Secretary in 2004.

Matt was elected FBU Assistant General Secretary in March 2005 and was elected General Secretary in May 2005. He is the Employee Side Joint Secretary of the National Joint Council for Local Authority Fire and Rescue Services (NJC) and also for the Middle Managers' Negotiating Body (MMNB).

Matt is a member of the TUC General Council and the TUC Executive Committee.

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