UNISON, the UK’s largest public sector union, today announced that Dave Prentis had been re-elected as general secretary.

Walton Pantland Europe, UK, Public (PSI), Unison,
Dave Prentis

Dave Prentis

Prentis received almost half of the vote. Voting in the ballot was as follows:

  • Roger Bannister 16,853 (12.6 per cent)
  • John Burgess 15,573 (11.6 per cent)
  • Dave Prentis 66,155 (49.4 per cent)
  • Heather Wakefield 35,433 (26.4 per cent)

UNISON is a predominantly public sector union, with members in local government, education and the NHS. The union has a lot of women members, and is know for its work on equalities, with self-organised groups for women, black members, LGBTQ and so on.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:

“I am honoured to be re-elected and am delighted that UNISON members have returned me as their General Secretary. Everything I do will start with the concerns of our members around the country who need a union and a General Secretary who is on their side and puts them first.

“The next five years will be difficult ones for our union and for the UK’s public services. We need to stand up against a government set on consigning the public sector to the history books, whose austerity policies are starving communities of the services they relyupon, and holding down the pay and living standards of dedicated public servants.

“The last few months have been challenging, but now the whole union must come together and work relentlessly to fight for public sector workers, their rights at work, their jobs and their pay. I am proud that members have put their trust in me to lead that fight.”

Turn out was low at just over 10%, with 134,014 of UNISON’s 1.2 million members voting. This is likely to strengthen calls by unions to change the voting system which many feel is antiquated and discourages participation. Political parties and many other organisations are able to hold online elections, but unions are forbidden by the Government from doing this, and must send out a postal ballot.


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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