Tomorrow, Prentis will find out whether 600,000 local government workers are willing to strike for a better deal than the 2.4 per cent rise on offer. He is 52 years old and is a Capricorn. Prentis the negotiator may have hoped that 28-day window would concentrate ministers' minds enough to squeeze a firm offer out of them that would allow him to claim a success without a strike. Mr Cash’s pay far exceeds that of the general secretary of Britain’s biggest trade union Unison. This means his marginal rate of tax was 60%. The reason this quiet man has so little visibility is that he does not conform to the idea of what a big union boss should be. It speaks volumes about the public perception of trade unions that fewer people can name the leader of the country's biggest public sector union than can tell you who runs the railwaymen. Prentis laughs. But when food is going up in the way it is, plus electricity, gas, petrol all going up 30 or 40 per cent, these are the basics of life. [The ward] was filthy." "Our members are worried about how they are going to pay the mortgage or the rent, the gas or electricity, and how they are going to feed their children," he says. He has had differences with the Government before, but never set himself on such a collision course. He wants to negotiate a deal. "I love them. "I avoid it like the plague. Read our full mailing list consent terms here. That has not happened, and hundreds of thousands of low-paid, predominantly female members of Unison will sacrifice a day's pay and risk alienating public support next week. His main pledge is to take a worker’s salary of £32,000 and donate the extra £100,000 of the general secretary’s pay package to the union’s own welfare fund. When he was elected general secretary of Unison in 2000, he was not the candidate of the far left, and when left-wing union activists in the union movement talk approvingly about the "awkward squad", they do not include Dave Prentis in this pantheon. He has also suggested the union sell its two office buildings in London and move its HQ to the Midlands. — Trades Union Congress (@The_TUC) November 25, 2020. Copy link. "That does help!" Prentis speaks softly, rarely expresses an opinion that is not strictly related to his job, and his slight physical stature is testimony to the fact that he eats sparingly. Prentis is not by any measure badly paid. "That's how it should be. He has remembered an outside interest. They exchange knowing smiles, like lovers do. Lps Dave is a Capricorn and was born in The Year of the Monkey Life. ", Not him, of course. But you've got to have an essence, and mine was in standing up for my background." It’s immoral and it’s got to change.”, {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}}. "The cleaning service was contracted out to a private firm. But, he tells Tom Broughton, that doesn’t make him a ‘wrecker’ … "This isn't a proper job. In the 2020 Labour leadership and deputy leadership elections, UNISON endorsed Keir Starmer for leader and Angela Rayner for deputy. He joined NALGO in 1975, and in 1990 he became its deputy general secretary. ", Strikes are not his main threat. Education: Leeds Grammar School; BA in history at University of London; MA in industrial relations at University of Warwick. And we've got to pay the price, show restraint? ", Thanks to a Catholic education he was "probably the only boy within a radius of a mile to get to grammar school." The cost of living is soaring. Absolutely not." But apart from that he has been reluctant to talk about his private life. He was re-elected in March 2005, with 77% of the vote, in 2010 (with 67% of the vote), and in 2015 (with 49% of the vote). FILE PHOTO: Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak speaks during a news conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain March 17, 2020. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? COVID-19 ... General secretary Dave Prentis said: " Reports of pay restraint for all but frontline NHS staff would be a … Dave – not David – Prentis definitely sees himself as a man of his people. "I am," says Dave Prentis, "the voice of 1.4 million people.". The following year, hundreds of thousands of its members working for local authorities went on strike for better pay. Nita Clarke, former Downing Street adviser. A few days ago, I was disappointed to hear that Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison – my trade union – has been appointed as a non-executive director of the Bank of England.. As the leader of one of the UK’s largest trade unions, Prentis is involved in ongoing negotiations over proposed changes to public sector workers’ pensions. I love being with them. Union barons are meant to be arrogant and politically motivated. When Ed Miliband beat his brother in last year's Labour leadership contest, Charlie Whelan could not resist spreading the word among journalists that the Unite union's backing had been vital for the younger Miliband. The full extent of the cuts will be revealed on November 11 but some staff could lose up to £5,000 annually from their salary. He's never had a proper job, has he? Does he really want to let David Cameron in? Working people, our people, are taking the hit. He was originally elected in 2000. ... Dave Prentis The cut could have paid for an extra 30,000 nurses, 15,000 police officers, 20,000 teachers and 10,000 police community support officers. Tony Blair had a great deal of respect for him.". We still live in that divided society now. ", Read our full mailing list consent terms here, This is serious. But that is not how Prentis is seen by those who have actually dealt with him, either in government, or in the Labour Party, or even by others in the trade union movement. Last modified on Sat 18 Jul 2020 15.17 EDT. More than three dozen union barons earn annual pay and perks packages which run into six figures, campaigners claim. Lps Dave was born in United States on Thursday, January 18, 1968 (Generation X). He could no longer indulge himself with heavy meals and strong drink in the grand and greedy manner associated with certain other union bosses, even if he wanted to. The delegates went wild. Dave Prentis Updated: 21:25 EDT, 6 August 2011 Last Sunday we said that Dave Prentis, the Unison general secretary, had secured a 31 per cent increase to his pension contributions from the union. Those words were spoken by Dave Prentis of Unison, the second largest union in the country, at its annual conference last week. Prentis, in Bournemouth for Unison's conference last week, {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}}, Dave Prentis: 'Raise them up, or they will bring you down'. Share. "Probably the only problem I had was my broad Leeds accent. That depends on your politics. I run an enormous organisation with an income of £162m. "Dave's a negotiator. I was hauled in at school. There was another, more personal reason for Blair's solicitude towards the occasionally awkward public sector union leader – relief that he was alive. Prentis is a Yorkshireman, but he is no Arthur Scargill. The government is making the same disastrous mistake again. So is the Government. In 2000, just before he took over the general secretaryship from his predecessor, Rodney Bickerstaffe, Prentis went to the doctor complaining of indigestion – and was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison which has more than 1.3million members, says the country should brace itself for 'rolling action over an indefinite period'. "I do get a kick out of our membership," he says. But his early memories are of being the clever boy from a Catholic family living in the poor quarter of Leeds who had passed his 11-plus and joined the kids from better-off families at Leeds Grammar School. "I've never had a pay rise that was not applied to the rest of the staff." Still do. Geography still divides. ... by union boss Dave Prentis. "We did accept change, many times. "We're not banging the table. Once a strike ballot has been called, the union has 28 days to act or the ballot is invalid. The name that so easily slips the memory is Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, who is still below most people's radars after more than 10 years as one of the most powerful figures in the trade union movement, and even as the country braces for the biggest public sector strike since the strife-torn 1970s. According to Unison's most recent annual accounts, his total salary and benefits in 2010 came to just over £101,000, plus £32,818 paid into his pension pot. This small and slim man looks casual enough for the conference floor but smart enough to meet with ministers. "It may be frosty when I get back from here. 38 union chiefs are paid more than £100,000 a year, seven more than David Cameron. ", Isn't it risky for a lifelong socialist to confront a Labour government when it is already in serious trouble? It's not like the old days – "they used to have trouble getting people to come in for the votes" – but far away in Westminster, opponents are calling Dave Prentis a dinosaur. I told them to push off. Friday 20 November 2020 12:48, UK. We don't want him to feel our pain. The two hit it off partly because they were of the same generation – Prentis, who is now 61, being older by three years. Dave Prentis was a Non-Executive Director for the Bank of England's Court of Directors from 1 June 2012 - 31 May 2019 Since university, his entire working life has been immersed in the union movement, with no apparent ambition to go into politics, unlike so many other trade union officials. Working people, our people, are taking the hit. There is a limit to how often they can be persuaded to do it again. Did he feel adrift, as so many grammar school boys did, between his working-class roots and his middle-class friends? "He always had a very positive relationship with No 10," Nita Clarke, the former Downing Street adviser who was Blair's link with the unions, said. Dave Prentis received the award the Open University (OU) at the ceremony in the Barbican Centre, London. "Wealthy people are allowed to do whatever they want, out of fear that they will leave the country, so the brunt of the economic turbulence will be borne by working-class people. She pointed out that the figure was agreed by the union’s national executive committee and that he was “worth every penny”. I'd spend every minute of the waking day with them. "They are stuck in the past themselves, those people," he says in a clipped, tense voice that gets more Leeds the more his irritation rises. When the strike is over, the Unison's semi-visible elder statesman will be hoping he can go back to doing what he does best – negotiating and negotiating until the other side has been worn down. We are talking at the Bournemouth International Centre, in one of the bars that have been closed and deserted all week. It has been involved in any number of local disputes, such as the strike by hundreds of council staff in Southampton in July, protesting against cuts, or the Leeds refuse collectors' strike in 2009. "When my members alone are being subject to a pay policy which is iniquitous, there is no way that I, as general secretary, can ignore that." His Lucky Penny Shop channel has over 6,000 videos, which have amassed a total of 1 billion views and counting. "We've still got the trestles my dad used as a decorator. He sounds like an intense boy with unusual passions. There's even a petrol crisis. We want him to stand up for us. I'd do it for nothing. "Our members are not like tanker drivers who can hold the nation to ransom. Ministers in the Coalition Government may have a similar attitude, but are unlikely to say so days ahead of a national strike. After his stunning victory over PFI contractors last week, the Unison general secretary has emerged as the PFI’s most effective opponent. This strategy was condemned by union leaders, with Unison general secretary Dave Prentis calling it a "slap in the face to all of those we applaud each week". He is doing it on behalf of public service workers who have had their pay kept below inflation. Is it the voice of a prophet calling his party to rediscover its soul? "I'm saying the feeling out there is one of pure anger. Prentis was one of the first big union leaders to acknowledge that the spectacle of union bosses stomping around Labour conference wielding their block votes was bad for Labour and bad for the unions. So the 58-year-old party member believes he is firing "a warning shot" across the leader's bows. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. 25 November 2020. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. Posted on 16 November 2020 16 November 2020 by Dave Prentis Blog: Time to celebrate and look after our young members This young workers month, let’s listen and support one of the fastest growing groups of our membership and ensure they don’t pay the price of the pandemic We have to let the Government know that what it is doing is wrong.". Unison has just published a Mori poll showing that nearly half of traditional Labour voters are less likely to back the party next time. Union barons are supposed to be arrogant, opinionated, politically motivated and greedy. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Some say the Conservatives look more competent. The figures show that Unison's endorsement was decisive too, but Prentis's people did not think it wise to brag about it. "Ardent Leeds United fan. The Conservatives have promised to give the unions a thrashing again, if they start behaving like they did in 1979. Dave Prentis (born 1948) is a British trade unionist who is the current General Secretary of UNISON, the United Kingdom's largest trade union. Crow leads a union with fewer than 80,000 members, which is not affiliated to Labour, while Unison, which Prentis has led for longer than Crow has been the RMT's general secretary, has nearly 1.4 million members and contributes about £1.5m a year to Labour Party funds. His two daughters by his long-term partner Liz Snape, Unison's head of policy, are roughly the same age as Blair's children, the elder girl being now out of her teens. "Times are tough," admitted the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, in his Mansion House speech. What pleases ministers but exasperates the left about Prentis is that if he has an ideological worldview, he keeps it hidden behind the self-effacing exterior of a professional negotiator. Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, called on the Government to convene urgent talks to discuss the report, rather than "rushing" to make cuts and face industrial action. Comparisons with the Seventies are a bit silly, of course – as the Chancellor pointed out, inflation reached 26 per cent back then. We needed resources for schools and hospitals that had been run down under the Tories. He was UNISON's deputy general secretary (DGS) from its formation in July 1993, when it was formed from NALGO, NUPE and CoHSE. 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