General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress

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The General Secretary of the TUC is the chief permanent officer of the Trades Union Congress, and a major figurehead in the trade union movement in the United Kingdom.


The Secretary is responsible for the effective operation of the TUC and for leading implementation of policies set by the annual Congress and the organisation's General Council. They also serve as the TUC's chief representative, both with the public and with other organisations.

The position was formed in 1921, when the Parliamentary Committee of the TUC became the General Council. The position of Secretary has been a permanent, full-time position in the TUC since 1904. Before that, the Secretary was elected annually at Congress.

Since January 2013, the incumbent position was held by Frances O'Grady, the first woman to hold the post. O'Grady will be succeeded by Paul Nowak, the current Deputy General Secretary, on 1 January 2023. [1]

Secretaries of the Parliamentary Committee of the TUC

General Secretaries of the TUC

  Denotes Acting General Secretary
Term of officeUnionHonour(s)
Charles William Bowerman in 1917 looking at camera.jpg C. W. Bowerman
10 September 19218 September 1923
Fred Bramley.jpg Fred Bramley
8 September 192310 October 1925
(Died in Office)
No image.svg Walter Citrine
10 October 192511 September 1926 Baron Citrine in 1946
11 September 192621 October 1946
No image.svg Vincent Tewson
21 October 19466 September 1960
George Woodcock 1965-03-30 (cropped).jpg George Woodcock
6 September 196026 February 1969
No image.svg Vic Feather
26 February 19692 September 1969 Baron Feather for Life in 1974
2 September 19697 September 1973
No image.svg Len Murray
7 September 19737 September 1984 Baron Murray of Epping Forest for Life in 1975
No image.svg Norman Willis
7 September 198410 September 1993
Official portrait of Lord Monks crop 2, 2019.jpg John Monks
10 September 199329 May 2003 Baron Monks for Life in 2010
No image.svg Brendan Barber
29 May 200331 December 2012
No image.svg Frances O'Grady
1 January 2013present Baroness O'Grady of Upper Holloway for Life in 2022

Deputy General Secretaries of the TUC

1977: Norman Willis
1985: Kenneth Graham
1987: John Monks
1993: Brendan Barber
2003: Frances O'Grady
2013: Post vacant [2]
2016: Paul Nowak [3]
2022: Post vacant

Assistant General Secretaries of the TUC

1917: Fred Bramley
1924: Walter Citrine
1926: Alec Firth
1931: Vincent Tewson
1947: George Woodcock
1960: Vic Feather
1969: Len Murray
1973: Norman Willis
1978: Kenneth Graham and David Lea
1985: Roy Jackson and David Lea
1992: David Lea
1999: Post vacant
2003: Kay Carberry
2013: Kay Carberry and Paul Nowak
2016: Post vacant [3]
2022: Kate Bell [4]

See also

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  1. Moss, Rob (2022-07-12). "TUC announces Paul Nowak as general secretary". Personnel Today. Retrieved 2022-07-12.
  2. Dan Milmo, "TUC scraps post of deputy general secretary after 'graduates only' row", The Guardian , 9 December 2012
  3. 1 2 Trades Union Congress, "Paul Nowak appointed TUC Deputy General Secretary", 25 February 2016
  4. "Kate Bell appointed as new Assistant General Secretary of the TUC". Trades Union Congress. Retrieved 30 December 2022.