Jo Grady named next UCU general secretary

Jo Grady, Jo McNeill and Matt Waddup had been competing to become the next leader of the University and College Union

Julia Belgutay

Jo Grady has been elected as the next general secretary of the UCU

Jo Grady has been named the next general secretary of the University and College Union. 

Ms Grady fought off fellow candidates Jo McNeill and Matt Waddup in the vote on who should replace Sally Hunt, who stood down for health reasons.


Read more: UCU general secretary resigns

More on this: WATCH: The Tes FE UCU general secretary election hustings

Background: Revealed: The candidates bidding to lead UCU


The future of UCU

Ms Grady secured the post in a ballot with what the union called "a record turnout". The senior lecturer in employment relations at the University of Sheffield won 64 per cent of the vote after the second round of counting.

The turnout was 20.5 per cent, said the UCU, compared with a previous high of 14.4 per cent in 2007 and 13.7 per cent in 2017.

Ms Grady said: "This victory was won by, and for, the members of UCU. We have chosen to start a new chapter of open and democratic leadership in our union at a time of extraordinary challenges for all staff who work in tertiary education, from the pressures of volatile funding regimes to the indignities of Brexit and the hostile environment."

'Expectations are high'

She added: ‘We can meet and overcome those challenges because we are skilful, dedicated, passionate people, and we know we deserve better. Expectations are high. I have been given an overwhelming mandate on the back of a hugely improved turnout. I look forward to carrying out that mandate by working with UCU’s outstanding staff, and harnessing the talent and commitment of our members."

Her start date is still to be confirmed and her five-year term of office will commence when she starts the role. She will address the union’s annual congress in Harrogate tomorrow afternoon.

Since the University and College Union (UCU) was founded in 2007, Sally Hunt has been its only leader. Ms Hunt was elected to the post three times by UCU members, but resigned in February owing to health reasons. This triggered an election to decide the union’s next leader.

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