Len McCluskey, leader of the UK and Ireland’s leading trade union Unite, has warmly congratulated Gail Cartmail on her election today (Tuesday 15 September) as the next president of the Trades Union Congress.

Gail, who is Unite assistant general secretary, will serve in the role for a year and preside over the next TUC  Congress in September 2021. She will also chair the TUC’s general council and executive committee.

Len McCluskey said: “Gail has been a key member of Unite’s leadership team for the past 10 years, since her appointment as our assistant general secretary for public services, finance, energy and construction. She has a lifetime of experience in fighting for working people, since she first became an activist in a trade union when she joined the publishing industry as a trainee.

 “I hugely admire the ability, courage and bravery Gail has shown throughout her trade union career and I speak on behalf of our entire Unite family in saying how very proud I am of her election as TUC president. I know Gail will do a fantastic job, doing what she does best, standing up for equality, justice, fairness and international solidarity between workers.”

 Gail Cartmail said: “It is an enormous privilege to be elected TUC President. I first joined a trade union aged 20 in my first publishing job, when I discovered that a male colleague doing the same job was paid more. It was shortly before the Equal Pay Act came in, so I challenged it with HR and was told it was because he was married, ‘with a wife’. It was a lightbulb moment. I knew about racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia, but a pay gap based on gender came as a complete shock.

 “I asked my father for advice and he said ‘don’t moan at me – join a union!’ Those words are as important now as they were then, and that’s why I want to focus on two key themes during my presidency. To encourage more women to become active in their trade unions and to protect and promote the importance of young people in the workplace and help them become active in their unions. I can’t wait to get started!”


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