Unison leader Dave Prentis to stand down at the end of the year

The leader of the UK’s largest trade union is to stand down at the end of the year.

Dave Prentis said it had been the “honour and privilege of my life” to be Unison’s general secretary since 2001.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer praised Mr Prentis’s “outstanding leadership” and his work representing frontline staff during the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Prentis will retire at the end of the year when his term in office ends.

“I’ve been so proud to serve as Unison general secretary for 20 years,” he said.

“It’s been the honour and privilege of my life to be able to represent our incredible public service workers from across our four nations, and never more so than in the last few difficult months.

“Every day for the past 47 years, I’ve been proud to serve this union.

“I have always been driven by a belief in fairness and justice for all our members, especially in the past five months when they and our public services have risen to the many challenges posed by the pandemic.

“As the health crisis turns to an economic crisis, I will be here to continue to lead Unison until the end of this year.

“There’s much still to do – holding the Government to account for its handling of the pandemic, ensuring proper funding for our public services and a decent pay rise for all their hard-working employees.”

A timetable for electing his successor will be agreed by the union’s national executive committee by the end of the month.

Sir Keir said thanked Mr Prentis for “many years of outstanding leadership and for admirably representing our heroic frontline workers during the coronavirus crisis”.

“I know you will always contribute to our movement and that we will continue to campaign together,” he added.

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