Margaret Greer joins UNISON general secretary contest

Sienna Rodgers

Another candidate has joined the race to succeed Dave Prentis as general secretary of party-affiliated trade union UNISON following the announcement that he will retire at the end of 2021.

Margaret Greer has announced that she will be seeking the nomination and votes of UNISON members to be the first female and first Black general secretary of the union.

Seeking to be “the members’ champion”, Greer has put tackling “inequalities” and “discrimination” and the need to “reduce deprivation” at the centre of her new campaign to succeed Prentis.

Greer is a UNISON national race equality officer with over 30 years of community and trade union activism, as well as a Labour councillor for the Lower Edmonton ward in London’s Enfield borough.

LabourList exclusively revealed in October last year that Greer had been shortlisted for Labour’s Enfield North parliamentary candidate selection, along with Feryal Clark who is now a Labour MP.

The Enfield councillor was nominated for that selection by UNISON and CWU, and she was endorsed by Labour MPs Bambos Charalambous, Eleanor Smith and David Lammy.

Glasgow-born Christina McAnea, currently assistant general secretary at UNISON, has also formally announced her intention to stand for the job this week and launched a campaign.

McAnea is currently responsible for UNISON’s collective bargaining, negotiations and equalities strategy, and has had a focus on health and social care workers.

Roger McKenzie, also an assistant general secretary at UNISON, launched his campaign last week. He is considered to be on the left of the Labour-affiliated union.

He has said that he intends to run an “optimistic” campaign, and has highlighted the need for UNISON to secure a “much higher public and media profile than we have ever had”.

Hugo Pierre, a member of UNISON’s national executive council – as a representative of Black members – and of the Socialist Party, has said he is “looking to be the candidate of the left”.

Prentis announced earlier this month that he would retire when his term of office ends in December 2020. Labour leader Keir Starmer thanked him for “many years of outstanding leadership”.

All those candidates who have declared so far would make history if elected by becoming UNISON’s first female or first Black general secretary, or both. Nominations open on August 10th.

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