Paul Kenny, Gmb General Secretary, Elected As the Next Tuc President

The values of our movement are the only beacon of light for millions of people who deserve a fairer society and a better future says new president

Paul Kenny was elected at a meeting of the TUC’s governing body – the General Council – and takes over from Michael Leahy, the General Secretary of Community.

Paul comes from a family of Irish immigrants who moved to West London in the 1940s, and he is proud of his working class roots. He started work at the age of 15 at Fuller’s Brewery in Hammersmith, and then worked as an apprentice gas fitter. While working for Hammersmith Council as a park keeper, Paul became active in the union. In 1979 he started working for GMB as a full-time official and he was GMB London Regional Secretary for more than 20 years.

Paul was first elected General Secretary of GMB in May 2006, and was re-elected unopposed in January 2011. As GMB General Secretary, Paul has presided over an unprecedented increase in the growth of GMB membership. Gaining the only trade union recognition agreement with Asda Walmart within his first year as General Secretary after a hard-fought press and industrial campaign is one of his proudest achievements.

In October 2010, Paul was appointed to the Executive Board of the Health and Safety Executive for a three-year term. The appointment – supported by the TUC – is recognition of GMB’s long history of campaigning on health and safety issues, and gives GMB one of the most powerful and influential positions in the British health and safety system.

Commenting on his election as TUC President Paul Kenny said:

“I would like to say how much I am looking forward to being TUC President. The values of our movement are the only beacon of light for millions of people who deserve a fairer society and a better future. The union movement with its campaigns for decency and social justice has more credibility, more consistency and more relevance than any politician.

“The TUC is a powerful force for good and I am very proud to be President for the year ahead. I look forward to playing a part in developing the TUC’s campaign against the cuts, where community organisers can help the unions reach out to the local victims of the government spending cuts, giving them a voice and help convince the wider public that there is a better, fairer option to austerity and deficit reduction.”

5 comments on “Paul Kenny, Gmb General Secretary, Elected As the Next Tuc President

  1. Geoff Collier on said:

    I’m often puzzled by the GMB, which appears from the outside to have no factions in the manner of other unions. Why is this?

  2. #1

    “Why is this?”

    Because it is effectively against the rules.

    Rule 36.13 prohibits circulation of “unofficial journals” or circulars, which makes the organisation of politically aligned groups problematic.

    Technically it would be possible with the approval of a Regional Committee/Council to do so within a region, or the CEC for the whole union; but this is a bit of a chicken and egg thing, as how do you get a majority elected who see the value in that without prior organisation.

    Of course, poltics abhors a vaccuum, and informal networking, especially around conferences and congresses always occurs.

  3. Geoff Collier on said:

    It was against the rules in the TGWU too. I don’t have a rule book anymore but I think it was schedule 2 which stated that union business could only be discussed through official channels. Few people were ever accused of such things, although the Off the Record newsletter resulted in a witchhunt which drew in two of us in Yorkshire (and possibly Jimmy Nolan in LIverpool.

  4. Didn’t stop the regional GMB barons ‘factionalising to get rid of elected General Sec Kevin Curran though did it