Modern and historical examples show us that societies are more equal and provide better opportunities when higher proportions of workers are part of trade unions. Yet, unions are in long-term decline in either membership or in delivering outcomes for workers.
This decline can be partly attributed to purposeful governmental policy and crack downs. But it is also clear that the rapid changes in the world around us have presented a major challenge to the way unions work.
We give unions insight, connections and help to navigate the changes affecting them now and in the future.
Unions 21 is an inclusive and collaborative space where unions and trade union centres are welcomed regardless of size or sector.
Unions 21 team
Executive DirectorBecky Wright
As executive director, Becky leads all aspects of the work of Unions 21 including strategic oversight and development as well as supporting unions specifically around strategy and aspects of organising.
Previous to her post at Unions 21, she worked as Director of the TUC’s Organising Academy and has a range of experience in roles within the trade union movement. Becky holds a BA(Hons) in Politics, an MRes as well as a Diploma in Education and has also studied Contemporary European Labour Studies at Masters level at the Universiteit van Amsterdam.
She also acts as a trainer/consultant for the ETUI, FIA, EFJ, FIM and UNI-MEI
Working with Unions 21 and our unions
Associate Director, External RelationsMatt Ball
Matt is a freelance campaigns, communications and policy consultant.
He was formerly Communications and External Relations Director at the Community trade union for over six years following five years as the union’s Head of Research, Industrial and Public Affairs.
He has over twenty years experience working in the labour movement across communications and policy, including three years as Director of Unions 21.
Senior AssociateVictoria Barlow
Vic advises Unions 21 on communications and engagement strategy, taking a lead on press and PR, newsletter content and campaign messaging.
Having started her union career as NASUWT's press officer, Vic worked her way to Assistant General Secretary for communications and membership at ATL, then NEU. Her work with Unions 21 has seen her support the Association of Educational Psychologists with a member recruitment strategy, NGSU with a social and digital plan and ASLEF with a database and digital project. She is currently working with Nautilus.
Senior AssociateDuncan Robertson
Duncan works with Unions 21 and our unions on digital projects. He has worked on the websites of the AEP, ASLEF and helped the NGSU in building their digital strategy.
Senior Associate, GovernanceJim McAuslan
Jim has worked with leaders and their teams in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. His twin passions are helping surface fault lines in an organisation’s culture and providing executive coaching to those leaders who want to do something about it.
Drawing on 45 years hands-on experience including 14 years as CEO of the British Airline Pilots’ Association, five as a non-executive chairman and more recently advisor to both the Police Federation and a trustee of shipping union Nautilus.
Damon A. Silvers a Visiting Professor in Labour Markets and Innovation at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP). He is on sabbatical from the AFL-CIO where is has served as the Director of Policy and Special Counsel for the AFL-CIO. He joined the AFL-CIO as Associate General Counsel in 1997.
You can find out more about Damon, his research and publications here.
Katherine Bassey works with our unions on organisational change and HR development. She previously headed up the HR Development functions at UNISON, latterly as Head of Staff Engagement and Innovation.
Previously at the CWU, Simon works with membership based organisations on governance, workplace relations as well as strategy.
Dave was elected as General Secretary of the FDA in May 2012, and took up office in July that year. He was re-elected in 2016 and 2021.
Vice ChairSarah Woolley
Sarah is the Secretary General at Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union.
Vice ChairMartin Furlong
Martin is the Head of Employment at the Royal College of Podiatry.
Dean is Executive Director, Industrial Strategy & Member Relations at the Society of Radiographers.
Helen is Nautilus International's director of communications, campaigns and digital.
Chris Morris, Usdaw Deputy Head of Research and Policy
Niamh is the first elected Deputy General Secretary of the NEU. She was elected to the ATL Executive in 2010 and represented the Union on the General Council of the TUC before being elected President of the NEU (ATL Section) from 2017 – 2018.
Paul leads the senior management team for the PDA and PDA Union. He has been involved in Trade Unions at the national level since the mid-1990s. His background in membership organisations includes serving as Deputy General Secretary of the Association of Teachers & Lecturers, Chairman of the Abbey National Group Union and Chief Operating Officer at the Business Disability Forum.
Kate Dearden is Community’s Head of Research, Policy and External Relations.