Dave Prentis biography

Dave Prentis has been general secretary of UNISON since January 2001.

A committed trade unionist of more than 30 years standing, Dave has always been in at the sharp end, defending his members against attacks on their pay and conditions.

He is a passionate advocate for public services and public service workers and believes in the dignity of labour and fighting for a decent living wage.

Dave has been instrumental in driving UNISON’s equality agenda and an unrelenting force in its campaigns of opposition to racism, the far right and the BNP. Early on, Dave identified pay discrimination, unsafe working conditions and abusive and bullying employers as key issues to giving people dignity at work.

Dave has steered the union through many difficult times, from fighting sell-offs and privatisations, to seeing off attacks on public sector pensions.

Under his leadership, the union has continued to grow in membership and influence. The Guardian wrote “Dave Prentis in many ways defines the modern centre-left union leader. Dave has led Britain’s biggest (public sector) union formidably.”

His sense of fair play, compassion, and his strong work ethic, were honed in the streets of Leeds where he was born and brought up. A great campaigner for educational opportunities for all, he studied history at the University of London and mastered in industrial relations at the University of Warwick.

Well-respected by politicians, employers and journalists, Dave is a member of the TUC General Council and its executive committee.

He is a visiting fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford and President of Public Services International – the umbrella body for public sector trade unions across the world.