Paul was the sole candidate nominated by unions and will become General Secretary Designate at Congress in Brighton this September, before officially taking the post in January 2023.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Paul led union efforts to make ministers publish strong safe working guidance, negotiating significant improvements to ensure millions of workers had a safer environment to work in.
“As TUC General Secretary, I will push back on attacks on workers’ rights, make the voices of workers heard, and back our unions to grow and win for their members and for all working people.
“Before I was a trade union official, I had never had a permanent contract at work, so I know the anxiety of life in temporary and agency jobs first-hand.
“I will be a General Secretary who fights for every worker.
“It doesn’t matter if you work in a care home, a supermarket or a power station – everyone deserves decent pay, job security and dignity at work.
“Join a union, get active and together we can win.”
Paul has been an active trade unionist and campaigner his whole working life; he first became a union member when he worked part-time at Asda aged 17.
Paul worked in a call centre for Cheshire County Council’s bus information line in the late nineties, after working on an agency contract in a BT call centre. He also worked as a hotel night porter. Before becoming a trade union official, Paul had always been employed on temporary and agency contracts, so understands the insecurity of never having a permanent contract.
Paul was a member of the first intake of the TUC's Organising Academy in 1998 – alongside Sharon Graham, now General Secretary of Unite and Roz Foyer, the General Secretary of the Scottish TUC. Aged 26, he became an organiser for BIFU, the financial services union (now part of Unite).
In 2000, Paul joined the TUC’s staff, later becoming Regional Secretary for the north of England and subsequently Head of Organising, reporting to the General Secretary. In 2013 he was appointed TUC Assistant General Secretary, and in 2016 Deputy General Secretary.
Congratulations from the MU
MU General Secretary, Naomi Pohl, said of the appointment:
“The MU congratulates Paul Nowak on his unopposed election to the position of TUC General Secretary. I was delighted to nominate him on behalf of Musicians' Union members.
“He has done a great job as TUC Deputy General Secretary, and has a strong understanding of the challenges facing employed, self-employed and freelance workers today.
“I look forward to working with him on shared priorities such as pay and conditions and tackling workplace racism, bullying and harassment. Paul understands the importance of raising freelancers up the TUC's agenda, which is something we are keen to progress.”
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