TUC set to name first female leader

Frances O'GradyThe appointment of the first female general secretary of the TUC is set to be confirmed.

Nominations for the post closed on Monday, with the current deputy general secretary Frances O'Grady the only candidate.
Her appointment is expected to be approved by the TUC executive and by the annual TUC Congress in Brighton in September.

She will work alongside current general secretary Brendan Barber until he leaves the union organisation at the end of the year after a decade in the post.

Ms O'Grady became the TUC's first deputy general secretary in 2003, and has led a wide range of policy areas, including trade union recruitment and organisation, inter-union relations, services to members, and the campaign against the Government's health reforms.

The 52-year-old mother of two has been an active trade unionist and campaigner all her working life and held a number of jobs from shop work to the voluntary sector before working for the union movement.

Before joining the TUC, she worked for the Transport and General Workers Union where she worked on campaigns to stop the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board and for the introduction of a national minimum wage, equal pay for women, and on a range of industrial wage claims.

In 1994 she was appointed TUC campaigns officer and ran initiatives for equal rights for part-timers and against low pay, while in 1997 she was appointed to head up the new unionism campaign and launched the TUC's Organising Academy.

Mr Barber announced in April that he planned to step down at the end of the year, saying: "I have decided that this is the right time to make a change in my life. I have been enormously privileged to work at the TUC since 1975, and the end of the year will mark the 10-year point since my election as general secretary.

"The TUC has always been a powerful voice for the millions of ordinary people who depend on trade unions to better their lives and there is so much of our work over the years in which I take great pride. But I have every confidence that under new leadership the TUC can go from strength to strength."

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