UNISON elects catering assistant from Northern Ireland as president

UNISON’s national executive council has elected Margaret McKee, a catering assistant from Belfast, as president at the union’s annual national conference in Brighton.

Margaret 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.

Margaret, who has been part of the presidential team for a year, said: “I have always been proud to support and represent my fellow public sector employees and being elected president is a huge honour.

“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.”

Last year, Margaret was awarded the women’s gold badge at the TUC Congress in recognition of her union and community work.

Margaret, who lives in the Oldpark area of North Belfast, has been married to her husband Tommy for 43 years, and they have three sons and two daughters. She also has a stepdaughter and ten grandchildren.

Margaret will hold the position until next year. She is joined on the presidential team by Gordon McKay from Scotland who has worked as a mental health nurse for 30 years and Josie Bird who has been employed as an administrative officer in Newcastle for 16 years.

Media contacts
Fatima Ayad T:0207 121 5255 M: 07508 080383 E: f.ayad@unison.co.uk
Sophie Goodchild T: 0207 121 5546 M: 07767 325595 E: s.goodchild@unison.co.uk
Joe Lewis T: 0207 121 5255 M: 07970 863 411 E: j.lewis5@unison.co.uk