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UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt resigns for health reasons

25 February 2019

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt has resigned for health reasons*. The union's national executive committee (NEC) will meet on Friday 1 March to determine the process for the election of her successor.

Sally has been UCU general secretary since the union's formation in 2007. She has been elected to the post three times by UCU members, most recently in June 2017. Before the formation of UCU, Sally had been general secretary of one of its constituent unions, the Association of University Teachers (AUT). Prior to that she had been an AUT regional official and a senior union official in the finance sector.

Sally has been a longstanding member of the executive committee and general council of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), and has been its international spokesperson. She recently served as TUC president in its 150th anniversary year. 

UCU president Vicky Knight said: 'The union owes a huge debt of gratitude to Sally. She was central to the creation of UCU and has led its growth and success with utter dedication to the interests of the members that we represent, and with an integrity that I know is widely acknowledged and admired throughout the movement and beyond. 

'She has been one of the leading female union leaders of her generation and has inspired many others by her example. We will all miss her greatly and I wish her the very best for the future.'

In a message to UCU members and staff, Sally Hunt said: 'UCU is and will continue to be a great union; a reflection of its truly wonderful membership who contribute so much to the culture, politics and economy of this country. 

'It is no surprise then that the union itself is vibrant, energetic and stimulating. I am grateful for the trust given to me as their general secretary and wish every UCU member and staff member well.  It has been a real honour. Thank you.'

* The full statement:

The University and College Union (UCU) is very sorry to announce the resignation for health reasons of its general secretary, Sally Hunt.  The process for the election of a new general secretary will begin shortly.

Sally Hunt has been general secretary of UCU since 2007 and has won three elections as general secretary by the UCU membership, most recently in June 2017.

Before the formation of UCU, Sally had been general secretary since 2002 of one of its constituent unions, the Association of University Teachers (AUT). Before that she had been a regional official at AUT, having come to AUT after a successful period as a senior union official in the finance sector.

Sally has been a longstanding member of the executive committee and general council of the TUC and has played an active role in the work of the TUC, particularly in representing the British trade union movement internationally and in promoting the value of trade unionism among young people.  Sally Hunt served as president of the TUC from 2017-18. 

Her presidential speech to the September 2018 Congress in Manchester will be long remembered for its moving account of the history of trade union struggle and the continuing relevance of the trade union movement to the lives of current and future workers.

Sally has led the UCU through its formation, establishment and growth to its current position as the union for all teachers, researchers and professional staff in further, higher, adult and prison education in the UK. Through her exceptional leadership and advocacy skills, she has achieved an impressive media presence and political influence for the union. As the face of UCU, she has been a tireless, dedicated, thoughtful and effective advocate both for those working in post-16 education and for the wider importance of their work for our society.

In recent years, Sally Hunt has been at the forefront in the fight against casualised employment conditions, the defence of members' pension rights and the campaign for equal pay for women. Through her skilled leadership and management of the union she leaves UCU as a strong, well organised and active campaigning and organising union well able, thanks to her, to confront the challenges that lie ahead for post-16 education.

UCU president Vicky Knight said: 'The union owes a huge debt of gratitude to Sally. She was central to the creation of UCU and has led its growth and success with utter dedication to the interests of the members that we represent and with an integrity that I know is widely acknowledged and admired throughout the movement and beyond. She has been one of the leading female union leaders of her generation and has inspired many others by her example. We will all miss her greatly and I wish her the very best for the future.'

Personal message from Sally to UCU members and staff: 'UCU is and will continue to be a great Union; a reflection of its truly wonderful membership who contribute so much to the culture, politics and economy of this country. It is no surprise then that the union itself is vibrant, energetic and stimulating. I am grateful for the trust given to me as their general secretary and wish every UCU member and staff member well. It has been a real honour. Thank you.'

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