When I campaigned for election to the post of General Secretary in the latter part of 2016 I did so on a number of campaign promises.
I promised to make the Union more inclusive by taking the EC meetings out to the regions and letting regional committee members see how the EC operates. These joint meetings happened successfully in 2018 and 2019 and were warmly welcomed by the members.
I promised a review of how Conference would be run and our 2019 Delegate Conference and Member’s Conference were overwhelmingly applauded by those who attended as they offered a far greater opportunity for members to shape the policy of the Union than had been possible under the old style National Conference. We redesigned the Conference Handbook to make it more accessible and, again, by including individual regional reports the Handbook reflected what had been happening locally as well as nationally to project a more inclusive image of the MU.
One of the major promises I made was to make joining the MU easier for musicians so that we could grow the membership to a level that would mean we were self-sufficient and not reliant on the diminishing licensing money. It’s fair to say that, as of the beginning of 2020, the Join For A Pound scheme was working really well and with the Union’s membership sitting at 32,000 we were well on course to hit the target figure of 35,000 plus members within a few years.
The pandemic has knocked everything into a cocked hat
It was with that in mind that I came to a decision at the latter part of 2019 to ask the EC to extend my current term of office by two years and ten months so that I could retire on my 68th birthday knowing that I had achieved what I had set out to do. This, at the time, made sense as the alternative was to put the Union to the trouble and expense of two GS elections within a three-year period.
And then the proverbial hit the fan. This terrible pandemic has knocked everything into a cocked hat and whilst I must emphasise that we are not hemorrhaging members in an alarming way, the increase in membership month-on-month that we were enjoying until March this year has stalled.
Consequently, it has become apparent that the ‘project’ is going to be delayed by at least two years and that I may not have enough time left before my retirement date to complete the work that I started when I came into office.
You, the members, voted to make me General Secretary in 2017 and I am determined to deliver to you everything I promised in my election campaign and enjoy the fruits of that work before I stand down
I will be standing again for election in 2022
In order to give myself enough time to deliver all that I promised and to lead the Union into better times I have asked the EC – and they have agreed – to rescind the letter that set my retirement date as my 68th birthday, and instead I will be standing again for election to the position of General Secretary for a further term at the beginning of 2022.
During these unprecedented times what is needed more than anything is stability and continuity and I want to make sure that I leave the Union in the very best of health when I eventually hand over the reins to my successor.
Finally, in this, my thirtieth year of working for the Union I want to thank you for having the faith, trust and confidence in me to elect me to the position of General Secretary. I recognise that this is a great honour and I do not carry the responsibility lightly. I have thoroughly enjoyed the last three years and I look forward to representing you for a second term and completing the work that is so vital in ensuring the secure future of our wonderful Union.