Labour Research (October 2012)


TUC headed by all-female team

Lesley Mercer, a senior official at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), is joining Frances O’Grady, the new TUC general secretary, at the head of the TUC.

Mercer, the CSP’s director of employment relations and union services, is taking over the post of TUC president from Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB general union. Along with Kay Carberry, TUC assistant general secretary, the TUC now has an all-female leadership line-up.

Mercer is a firm advocate of equality and fair play and says she is looking forward to working with the TUC’s first ever female general secretary.

“Even 15 years ago, the idea of having a woman at the top of the union movement would have seemed remote,” she said. “But with women now making up more than half of all union members, this is an entirely logical development.”

Commenting on her own election, Mercer said she was proud to be the first president “to come from a combined trade union and professional body, four-fifths of whose members are women”. She plans to use her year as president to stand up for the NHS.

Mercer’s involvement with the trade union movement spans more than 30 years, beginning as an assistant research officer for the Merchant Navy and Airline Officers Association — now Nautilus International.

She has been on the TUC’s general council for 12 years, on its executive for the past five and currently sits on the government’s Central Arbitration Committee.

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