Unison appoints Tracey Dalling as first female Scottish secretary

The Unison union has appointed its first female Scottish secretary in its almost 30-year history.

Tracey Dalling has taken over from her predecessor Mike Kirby, who retired after decades of service to Unison, and took up the post this week.

Her appointment was announced on Tuesday as International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world.

Ms Dalling said she is proud to head Unison Scotland which represents more than 150,000 members, over three quarters of whom are women.

She said: “I have represented Unison members in Scotland for many years and I look forward to continuing to do so in my new role.

“We may be emerging from the pandemic, but it is the start of another huge period of change as our members are further pressed by pay and pension squeezes with bleak choices on managing household bills.

“Unison has clear priorities: the crisis in social care and new national care service; investment for local government; the staffing crisis in the NHS; fair pay settlements for all public service workers; protecting all our pensions; equal pay; climate change; and a strong voice for all our public services and those that deliver them. I look forward to the challenge ahead.”

Ms Dalling left school at 16 before starting work with the Royal Bank of Scotland where she joined the union Bifu.

At the age of 20, she moved to a role in the finance department with Strathclyde Regional Council where she became a workplace steward with the union Nalgo.

Ms Dalling has been an active trade unionist ever since, and was elected to the Unison executive committee in the early 1990s.

She took up her first trade union employment as a regional organiser with Unison in 1997, and has worked in various locations including Surrey, Aberdeen and London.

In 2005 she returned to Glasgow as Unison Scotland’s strategic lead for local government campaigns before moving into a managerial role and in recent months has been heading up the union’s Greater London region.

With her new appointment she becomes the first female Scottish secretary of Unison since it was formed in 1993.

Lilian Macer, Unison Scotland’s convenor, said: “I am looking forward to working together with Tracey. She has huge experience and a long history of standing up for public service workers across the country.

“Together we will take Unison forward, holding employers and the Scottish government to account as we strive to protect and improve Scotland’s public services.”

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