portrait photograph of senior vice president Gordon McKay, junior vice president Josie Bird and president Margaret McKee

Presidential team

UNISON has a presidential team made up of elected members of the national executive council.

 Margaret McKee, president

Margaret McKee (above right)  has been a catering assistant at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for 38 years. She has been an activist for most of that time as well as joint chair of her branch for the past 10 years.

She was awarded the TUC women’s gold badge at the 2016 Congress in recognition of her union and community work.

Margaret has been married to Tommy for 42 years, and they have three sons and two daughters.

She also has a step daughter and nine grandchildren.

Margaret lives in the Oldpark area of North Belfast and, when time allows, enjoys reading and quizzes.

“I have always been proud to support and represent my fellow public sector employees and being elected president is a huge honour.” she says.

“Workers face unprecedented challenges this year as the UK prepares to leave the European Union. Public services rely on EU workers as many work here as nurses, care assistants and in many other key roles in the NHS and local councils. I will work tirelessly to ensure the best outcome for all.

“Removing the pay cap will be a huge priority. Public sector workers have been taken for granted for too long and the pay cap simply has to go. Workers deserve much better and it’s time their skills and dedication were recognised with more than a thank you.

“The union has gone from strength to strength and through our achievements I want to encourage workers of all ages and backgrounds to join the union.”


Gordon McKay, senior vice-president

Gordon McKay (above left), from the union’s Ayrshire and Arran health branch, has worked as a mental health nurse for 30 years.

He was first elected to the NEC in 2009, representing Scotland.

In this year’s NEC election, he was elected to represent health workers across the UK.

He is married with two children.


Josie Bird, junior vice-president

Local government worker Josie Bird (above centre) has been employed as an administrative officer in Newcastle for 16 years.

She has been an elected member of the NEC for a number of years and chaired the executive’s finance and resource management committee.

She is also secretary of the union’s Newcastle city branch.