Everything you ever wanted to know about the UNISON General Secretary Election but were afraid to ask

In the coming weeks UNISON members will be finding ballot papers for the election of a new General Secretary coming through their letter box.

In this article we give you an ‘idiots guide’ to the election, who is standing and why you should vote

What’s it all about?

The general secretary election is your chance to vote to elect the most senior person in the union. Being a member, or retired member, of UNISON entitles you to a vote if you were a member on 28 July 2020.

Who is the general secretary?

The general secretary represents you and the other 1.3 million members of UNISON in meetings with politicians across the UK, in discussions with employers and when working with other trade unions. They speak up for you and are the public face of your union, in the press, on TV and on social media

Dave Prentis, the union’s current general secretary retires at the end of 2020 after 20 years in the job. The law – and UNISON’s rule book – says we have to elect our general secretary every five years.

Why should I vote?

This is your chance to have a say in who leads the union and who represents all our members.  The election only comes around every five years so use your vote and make sure your voice is heard.

How do I vote?

The ballot opens on 28 October so please look out for your ballot paper, which will be sent by post to your home address.

The ballot is being run on our behalf by an independent organisation called Civica Election Services (CES).

Make sure you post your completed ballot in plenty of time to CES by 5pm on November 27. It will be freepost, so don’t worry about a stamp.

Your election pack will include the ballot paper, and the pre-paid return envelope. There will also be information about the candidates who are standing to be general secretary.

If anything is missing from your election pack, or you lose your ballot paper please call our ballot helpline free on 0800 0 857 857 or on textphone 0800 0 967 968. The helpline opens on 10 November and closes on 20 November.

Who are the candidates in this election?

The following have been confirmed as candidates in the election to choose a new general secretary for UNISON. Their names are listed below in the order they will appear on the ballot paper and in the election address booklet.

Paul Holmes

Nominated by one service group executive, two regional councils and 99 branches.

Christina McAnea

Nominated by the national executive council (NEC), five service group executives, nine regional councils and 210 branches. 

Roger McKenzie

Nominated by one service group executive, one regional council and 104 branches.

Hugo Pierre

Nominated by 31 branches.

UNISON Cwm Taf Local Government Area has nominated Christina McAnea to lead our 1.3 million members as General Secretary. Christina has worked for UNISON for over 25 years. She is one of the UK’s most senior women trade unionists – a no-nonsense negotiator and a champion for women’s rights, pay equality, justice for low paid workers and a strong supporter of political devolution.  She offers a clear, ambitious, responsible vision for our union’s future to support every UNISON member. Her election would be a real departure from the past as our first woman General Secretary