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Dave Prentis

General Secretary of UNISON

Dave Prentis has been General Secretary of the UK’s largest public sector union, UNISON, since January 2001. He was re-elected to the 1.4 million strong union with an overwhelming 70+% of the vote in both March 2005 and June 2010. He was UNISON’s Deputy General Secretary from its formation in 1993. Under his leadership, membership of UNISON has grown steadily. He has the tough task of leading TUC talks with the coalition government on public spending and public sector pensions. Dave was born and brought up in Leeds and went to the University of London, where he took a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. This was followed by a Masters degree in industrial relations at the University of Warwick. He is a member of the TUC General Council, TUC Executive Committee and the Trade Union Labour Party Liaison Committee. He is a member of the Labour Party Joint Policy Committee; a member of the Institute for Public Policy Research’s (IPPR) Policy Advisory Council and also Catalyst, two centre-left research bodies. Dave is also an adviser to the Warwick Institute of Governance and Public Management and a visiting fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. He is a member of various joint working parties with the government and the CBI. He is president of Unity Trust Bank. Currently President of Public Services International and Commissioner on the Board of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

Bringing An End To Unfair Tribunal Fees Is An Historic Victory For Workers' Rights

The Supreme Court's decision is one of the most important victories in UNISON's history. It's also the most significant judicial intervention in the history of British employment and constitutional law. But for many thousands of exploited low-paid staff, it is also the difference between being able to seek justice, or having to put up with exploitation and ill-treatment, even having to find another job elsewhere.
27/07/2017 11:05 BST

Labour Has A Plan To Turn The Tide Of Tory Attacks On Working People

Theresa May and her government have shown through their attacks on working people whose side they are really on. In contrast, the Labour Party's plan places it squarely on the side of working people. For all the Prime Minister's rhetoric, it's Labour who's really on the side of those who are 'just about managing'.
30/04/2017 09:26 BST

The Scandal Of 15-Minute Social Care Visits Must End

The government provided £2billion in the recent budget for social care, but that's still painfully inadequate when council budgets have been cut so deeply and for so long. Instead what's needed is a long-term funding solution to fix social care for good, and end the cost-cutting that leads to the national scandal of 15 minute care visits and elderly people left alone, frightened, hungry and unwashed.
07/04/2017 17:13 BST

This Living Wage Week, Think Of The Millions Of Britons Still Working For Poverty Wages

This year it's more important than ever to make a noise about the real living wage - a wage people can actually afford to live on - and calling on the government to put their money where their legislation is on low pay. Let's see the National Living Wage match the real Living Wage in the years ahead, rather than trying to legislatively undercut the work of campaigners.
31/10/2016 16:48 GMT

Our Union Is Far From Pro-EU, But We Will Campaign to Stay In and Reform It for Working People

I will be voting to remain in Europe, and Unison will be encouraging its 1.3million members to do the same, following a comprehensive survey involving 60,000 of them... That position is something of a change of direction. Our union is not and has never been pro-EU. On the contrary, we've opposed decades of EU treaties - from Maastricht to Lisbon to the EU constitution - and have repeatedly warned against the slow drift towards dogmatic austerity across the continent. We'll continue to make these arguments.
14/04/2016 09:24 BST

How Many of Us Rely on Others to Care for Our Loved Ones?

The work that our care workers do, even in these impossible circumstances, is incredible. But it's impossible to read these stories and not wish for a proper solution to our care crisis. That will require money and political will to achieve. I hope that these are not in too short a supply to help a generation of people to whom we owe so much.
29/01/2016 19:19 GMT

How Osborne's Fake 'Living Wage' Could Trap Many in Poverty

Last summer George Osborne stood up in Parliament and said - echoing an argument we've made so many times before - that Britain needs a pay rise. We will hold him to that, because it can't be acceptable to create a system where so many of the young are locked into poverty, where low-paid workers are told they're earning a 'living wage' when they're still unable to make ends meet, and where contractors paid for out of our taxes use government spin to justify low pay for our people.
26/01/2016 17:27 GMT

Instead of Investing in the NHS, Jeremy Hunt Thinks He Can Offer Patients More By Offering Workers Less

The government keeps saying that any change to a seven-day NHS should be 'cost neutral'. But if Jeremy Hunt wants more services to run over seven days, with more staff working unsocial hours, the only way this can happen is to cut unsocial hours payments for existing staff. Junior doctors clearly don't feel terribly 'neutral' about this, nor I suspect will other NHS staff.
12/01/2016 17:44 GMT

Instead of Investing in the NHS, Jeremy Hunt Thinks He Can Offer Patients More By Offering Workers Less

The government keeps saying that any change to a seven-day NHS should be 'cost neutral'. But if Jeremy Hunt wants more services to run over seven days, with more staff working unsocial hours, the only way this can happen is to cut unsocial hours payments for existing staff. Junior doctors clearly don't feel terribly 'neutral' about this, nor I suspect will other NHS staff.
12/01/2016 17:12 GMT

Instead of Investing in the NHS, Jeremy Hunt Thinks He Can Offer Patients More By Offering Workers Less

The government keeps saying that any change to a seven-day NHS should be 'cost neutral'. But if Jeremy Hunt wants more services to run over seven days, with more staff working unsocial hours, the only way this can happen is to cut unsocial hours payments for existing staff. Junior doctors clearly don't feel terribly 'neutral' about this, nor I suspect will other NHS staff.
12/01/2016 16:50 GMT

Osborne Simply Can't Proceed With His Tax Credit Plans - He Must Focus on a Real Living Wage

The savage losses faced by working families fly in the face of any claim to be a 'one nation' government, or one that has working people at its heart, or David Cameron says that work will be rewarded.... The Chancellor simply can't just proceed with his original plans... The smart move would be to drop the changes to the threshold and taper altogether and focus on getting employers to pay the real living wage of £8.25 a hour or £9.40 in London. That is what would make a real difference to the lives of millions of low income working households struggling to make ends meet.
25/11/2015 07:42 GMT

We Need the Real Living Wage to Tackle the Low Pay Challenge

Living Wage Week is a time to take stock of the low pay challenge that confronts a growing number of working people in the UK - and think about what more can be done to tackle it. Despite the many living wage victories, the outlook is bleak.... Against this backdrop, we should see George Osborne's 'national living wage' for what it is - an enhanced minimum wage. And while it would be churlish to deny that it will do some good (it was after all a policy that was swiped straight out of Labour's 2015 manifesto), we need to recognise three big flaws in the government's way of going about things that reveal the weakness of its approach to tackling lowpay.
04/11/2015 16:36 GMT

Tax Credit Cuts Are Just the Start of the Austerity Damage Being Done

Speaking after the election, David Cameron told the nation that his government would be on the side of those 'who work hard.' But six months on a very different story is emerging. And it is the incomes of hard-working families that are to be hit once again. Next April, three million low to middle income households face a savage cut to their incomes - the equivalent in some cases of more than 10% of their take home pay. A contract cleaner recently burst into tears when she realised what the changes meant for her family, and I am sadly not short of other heartbreaking stories.
25/09/2015 17:52 BST

Are the Conservatives Really the Party of Working People? Don't Believe It for a Second

If ministers are really concerned about low pay, they should start by announcing that all government departments are to become living wage employers, and encourage other employers to follow suit. They must also fund local councils properly so that the introduction of the living wage does not bankrupt the social care sector. The government should also back UNISON's Ethical Care Charter and help address the endemic levels of non-compliance in the care sector by ensuring that all care workers are paid for their travel time.
04/09/2015 17:16 BST

Against Regional Pay

This Tory-led coalition government, despite promising that austerity was the way out of recession and into growth, has failed to ease the UK's financial woes, yet they persist in their brutal and relentless assault on our public services.
04/09/2012 11:29 BST

Unemployment - The Government Continues to Ignore the Human Cost of Its Cuts

Warning bells should be sounding in Westminster in the run up to Christmas. While the government gears up for the recess and festive celebrations, hard-pressed families across the UK are wondering how they are going to put a turkey on the table this year. What a seriously bleak midwinter for the 2.64million now unemployed and the millions of low paid workers, suffering from pay freezes in the face of high inflation.
15/12/2011 00:32 GMT