Deputy general secretary Paul Nowak will succeed Frances O’Grady as TUC general secretary when she retires at the end of the year.
The former call centre worker from Merseyside was the sole candidate nominated by unions and will become general secretary designate at the TUC’s Congress in Brighton in September, before officially taking the post in January 2023.
Paul Nowak said: “It’s an honour to be chosen as the next TUC general secretary. Working people need strong confident unions to fight their corner.
“A decade of standstill wages, overseen by successive Tory governments, has left working people at the mercy of this cost of living crisis. But unions are rising to the challenge and fighting back.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Nowak 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.”
TUC general secretary
Before joining the TUC, Nowak held a variety of temporary and agency jobs as a call centre operator, a hotel night porter and a supermarket worker.
Nowak described O’Grady, who became the first woman to lead the TUC when she took the reins from Sir Brendan Barber in 2013, “an outstanding champion of working people and an inspiration to many”.
He added: “From securing the furlough scheme in the pandemic to overseeing an increase in union membership during her tenure, she leaves a great legacy for working people, and I am determined to build on it.”
He said that as general secretary, he would push back on attacks on workers’ rights, make workers’ voices heard, and back trade union efforts to grow.
“Before I was a trade union official,” said Nowak, “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.”