The two hit it off partly because they were of the same generation – Prentis, who is now 61, being older by three years. I've got staffing policies covering 1,500 employees all over the country. "We've still got the trestles my dad used as a decorator. ", After reading history at the University of London and economic history at the LSE, he took a master's in industrial relations at Warwick. There's even a petrol crisis. 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. ", That's how it has always been for him, since he was a child in Leeds. [The ward] was filthy." Posted on 9 November 2020 9 November 2020 by Dave Prentis Blog: Why we’ll never stop fighting for a real living wage for all You cannot praise public service workers for keeping our communities going… while simultaneously expecting the same people to survive on poverty pay Last modified on Sat 18 Jul 2020 15.17 EDT. Family: His partner of 24 years is Liz Snape, Unison's director of policy; they have two daughters. 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. But Tony Blair, who had little regard for union leaders who made trouble for him, retained a sneaking respect and affection for Prentis. Union barons are supposed to be arrogant, opinionated, politically motivated and greedy. 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. In the winter, if there was no work coming in, we would wonder what would happen in the spring. "I do get a kick out of our membership," he says. Prentis went public a few years ago after fighting off cancer of the oesophagus and stomach, not to mention MRSA contracted in hospital. He wants to negotiate a deal. We have to let the Government know that what it is doing is wrong.". "I'm saying the feeling out there is one of pure anger. And we've got to pay the price, show restraint? Prentis is not by any measure badly paid. "We did accept change, many times. Representatives from the Public and Commercial Services union, Unison, T&G and other public sector unions […] I'd do it for nothing. Comparisons with the Seventies are a bit silly, of course – as the Chancellor pointed out, inflation reached 26 per cent back then. ", And if he doesn't? 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. 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. It has to stop. We are talking at the Bournemouth International Centre, in one of the bars that have been closed and deserted all week. That is unfair, says Prentis, if it does not apply to everyone. "No. Such fighting talk is new from the general secretary, who represents 1.4 million men and women providing public services – from health managers and nurses through probation officers to dinner ladies. This means his marginal rate of tax was 60%. The Conservatives have promised to give the unions a thrashing again, if they start behaving like they did in 1979. Dave Prentis receives his honorary degree ©OU Unison's general secretary has been awarded an honorary degree marking his "commitment to lifelong, life-changing learning" in public services. Unite’s general secretary, ... Dave Prentis, that he would be stepping down … I'd spend every minute of the waking day with them. The cost of living is soaring. But, he tells Tom Broughton, that doesn’t make him a ‘wrecker’ … So the 58-year-old party member believes he is firing "a warning shot" across the leader's bows. A decade of spending cuts left public services exposed when Covid came calling. "Probably worked at Burtons, in a tailoring factory. 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. Ministers in the Coalition Government may have a similar attitude, but are unlikely to say so days ahead of a national strike. Did the posh boys have a go at him? I told them to push off. He is 52 years old and is a Capricorn. She pointed out that the figure was agreed by the union’s national executive committee and that he was “worth every penny”. Tony Blair had a great deal of respect for him.". We don't want to run the country. He has also suggested the union sell its two office buildings in London and move its HQ to the Midlands. "I got on with them very well. He is doing it on behalf of public service workers who have had their pay kept below inflation. Working people, our people, are taking the hit. Oh!" Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. ... my net monthly salary for the 2020/2021 financial year is now £2.98 more than my 2018/2019 salary compliments of this year’s 3.2% pension increase! Read our full mailing list consent terms here. People earning just above the minimum wage? "If there is still so much anger and worry among public service workers when an election comes, they will show their discontent at the ballot box. "Ardent Leeds United fan. He was originally elected in 2000. So how does he think they could bring the Prime Minister down? There was another, more personal reason for Blair's solicitude towards the occasionally awkward public sector union leader – relief that he was alive. Lps Dave was born in United States on Thursday, January 18, 1968 (Generation X). Tax-evasion by the rich amounts to £37bn and nobody says anything. close. "I'm not threatening a summer of discontent," he insists. 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. We still live in that divided society now. "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. "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. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. ", Not him, of course. 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. 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. Dave Prentis: “Class still divides. Did he feel adrift, as so many grammar school boys did, between his working-class roots and his middle-class friends? Dave – not David – Prentis definitely sees himself as a man of his people. 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. "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." They exchange knowing smiles, like lovers do. "You raise them up, Gordon, or they will bring you down!". He's on a basic salary of £89,000. "No," he says happily. Soaring inflation is already rendering it obsolete, says Prentis, and if it continues he will fight for a new deal. Someone on that money is subject to Gordon’s personal allowance tapering. Then there are the 800,000 NHS workers who became subject to a new agreement at Easter. "That does help!" ", That, says his director of policy, Liz Snape, who has been sitting in on our conversation, "is because you've got a million women." "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. He was UNISON's deputy general secretary (DGS) from its formation in July 1993, when it was formed from NALGO, NUPE and CoHSE. Last week the Government announced changes to civil servant pensions which will see final salary schemes replaced by a career average pension. ", Nicknamed Mr Mainstream when he stepped up to lead Unison eight years ago, Prentis was one of the new breed of union leaders prepared to adapt to life under Tony Blair. ... Australia in 2020. "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. Geography still divides. 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