From education to employment

Jo Grady elected general secretary of the University and College Union

Jo Grady has been elected as general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU) on a record turnout. The senior lecturer in employment relations at the University of Sheffield secured 64% of the vote after the second round of counting.

The other candidates were UCU’s national head of policy and campaigns Matt Waddup, and the president of the University of Liverpool UCU branch Jo McNeil.The turnout was 20.5%, compared with a previous high of 14.4% in 2007 and 13.7% in 2017.

Jo Grady said: ‘This victory was won by, and for, the members of UCU. We have chosen to start a new chapter of open and democratic leadership in our union at a time of extraordinary challenges for all staff who work in tertiary education, from the pressures of volatile funding regimes to the indignities of Brexit and the Hostile Environment.

‘We can meet and overcome those challenges because we are skilful, dedicated, passionate people, and we know we deserve better. Expectations are high. I have been given an overwhelming mandate on the back of a hugely improved turnout. I look forward to carrying out that mandate by working with UCU’s outstanding staff and harnessing the talent and commitment of our members.’

Jo Grady’s start date is still to be confirmed and her five-year term of office will commence when she starts the role. She will address the union’s annual congress in Harrogate tomorrow afternoon.

Jo Grady succeeds Sally Hunt who had been the union’s general secretary since its inception in 2007. Sally resigned in February due to health reasons.

The result in full:

Second round results:

Jo Grady: 15,214 (64%)

Matt Waddup: 7,721 (33%)

Votes not transferred: 703 (3%)

First round results:

Jo Grady: 11,515 (48.7%)

Matt Waddup: 6,104 (25.8%)

Jo McNeil: 6,019 (25.5%)

Jo McNeil eliminated (5,316 votes to be transferred)

Turnout 20.5%

Previous UCU general secretary election results:


Sally Hunt: 8,138 (59%)

Jo McNeill: 5,586 (41%)

Turnout 13.7%

Full results


Sally Hunt: 10,776 (73%)

Mark Campbell: 3,941 (27%)

Turnout 12.8%

Full results


Second round results:

Sally Hunt: 8,463 (52%)

Roger Kline: 7,117 (44%)

Votes not transferred: 670 (4%)

First round results:

Sally Hunt: 7,605 (47%)

Roger Kline: 6,151 (38%)

Peter Jones: 2,494 (15%)

Jones eliminated (1,824 votes to be transferred)

Turnout 14.4%

Full results

Turnout comparisons with selected other unions’ recent general secretary elections:

Unite 2017

Len McCluskey 12.2%

Usdaw 2017

Paddy Lillis re-elected unopposed

NUT 2016

Kevin Courtney 10.7%

TSSA 2016

Manuel Cortes 18.9%

Prospect 2016

Mike Clancy re-elected unopposed

NUJ 2016

Michelle Stanistreet re-elected unopposed

Aslef 2016

Mick Whelan re-elected unopposed

GMB 2015

Tim Roache 4.4%

Unison 2015

Dave Prentis 9.7%

CWU 2015

Dave Ward 19.2%

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