Monday, 27 September 2010

Head of Scotland’s biggest public sector trade union set to stand down

After almost 40 years of service to the trade union movement, Matt Smith will be standing down as head of Scotland’s biggest public sector trade union later this year.

Matt, 58, has led UNISON Scotland as Scottish Secretary since it was created in 1993 and is the only one to have held the post.

Over the years, Matt has worked to promote policies which advance the interests of members, particularly in relation to low pay and equal pay. He has also played a pivotal part in championing the role of trade unions and ensuring their relevance as a major stakeholder in civic society.

In 2004, Matt was awarded an OBE in recognition of his contribution to trade unionism.

Matt was also a key voice in the campaign to establish the Scottish Parliament, serving on the McIntosh Commission on Local Government and a Scottish Parliament, as well as a member of the Calman Commission on Scottish Devolution.

Matt said: “It has been a great privilege to lead UNISON in Scotland. This has provided many opportunities to serve and to work with colleagues committed to advancing our public services and those who work within them. I am particularly proud to have contributed to the creation of our Scottish Parliament which is now so essential to the life of our nation.

“We face exceptionally challenging times ahead and I know that UNISON is committed to supporting and promoting our public services. I am very proud to have been a part of UNISON for almost two decades and I believe that now is the time to hand over and to let others continue with this work.”

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “Matt has played an integral role in shaping and developing our organisation at UK level and, in particular, within Scotland. His passion and determination for protecting public services has seen him lead UNISON through many challenges over the years and he is highly respected by everyone in his field. Over the past four decades Matt has made an exceptional contribution not only to public service but to the trade union movement as a whole. He will be missed by all of his friends at UNISON and we wish him every success in his future endeavours.”

A former President of the STUC, Matt was recently appointed by the Scottish Parliament as a Commissioner with the Scottish Human Rights Commission. He also serves on the Scottish Standards Commission, is a member of the Employment Appeals Tribunal and is a serving JP in Ayrshire and JPAC member. Matt is also an executive member and Honorary Fellow of the Scottish Council for Development and industry.

Over the years, Matt has served in a wide range of public and voluntary organisations. He is a former member of the Church of Scotland Church and Nation Committee and former vice chair of the Broadcasting Council for Scotland. He also served as an elected councillor and Dean of Guild in the former Stevenston Town Council and was a parliamentary candidate in 1979.

Matt Smith will be standing down as Scottish Secretary in December 2010. His replacement will be announced later this year.

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