John Hannett is the General Secretary of the UK's fifth largest Union, Usdaw. He was first elected General Secretary of the 429,000 strong Union in May 2004 and was re-elected in September 2008.
John sits on both the Executive Committee and the General Council of the TUC and has a wide range of experience representing the interests of Usdaw members on a number of Government Commissions.
John has served as a Low Pay Commissioner for 11 years, having first been appointed to the Commission in May 2007. The Commission was established following the National Minimum Wage Act to advise the Government on the level of the National Minimum Wage and is made up of representatives from all sides of industry.
He was appointed as an ACAS Council Member in May 2010 and concluded his term of office in May 2016.
Most recently, he has been invited to sit on the Future of Work Commission.
He is currently President of UNI-Europa Commerce having first been elected in 2012. Union Network International (UNI) is a global union to which Usdaw is affiliated. The UNI Commerce Global Union team works to improve working conditions in the retail and wholesale sector by creating networks and building capacity among affiliated unions and by committing multinational companies to signing Global Framework Agreements.
He has also served as a Commissioner on the Good Work Commission – an initiative which was designed to shape future thinking and provide insights and understanding about how relationships between people and business are changing.
He was a member of the Women and Work Commission which was set up to look at tackling the gender pay gap and the Independent Advisory Group to the Russell Commission; the focus of the Commission being to develop a national framework for youth action and engagement.
John also sat on the Standing Commission on Carers which reflects the Government's recognition of the campaigning work the Union has been doing around Supporting Parents and Carers.
He has been a Labour Party member for more than 35 years and sat on the National Executive Committee (NEC) from 1998 to 2005. He represents Usdaw on the National Policy Forum and is assigned to the Economy Commission.
Under the Union's Lifelong Learning agenda, John has represented the interests of members on the TUC UnionLearn Board and is a Skills for Life advocate.
John has a wide range of experience working with senior Government Ministers, Chief Executives and Company Directors to advance the working lives of Usdaw members and promotes the value of trade Union membership at all levels.
John Hannett biography correct at December 2016.
In November 2017, Paddy Lillis was elected to succeed John Hannett as Usdaw’s next General Secretary. Paddy received overwhelming support from the Union’s branches across the UK for his nomination.
Paddy has served as Deputy General Secretary of Usdaw for 14 years. He co-ordinated the Union’s recruitment campaigns, and the work of the very successful Organising Academy. In the last 14 years, the Union’s recruitment and organising strategy has helped Usdaw to grow by more than 100,000 members.
As Deputy General Secretary, Paddy has led a major project to Support and Develop Usdaw Reps. This project has improved the Union’s processes with the aim of getting more people to become reps, ensuring that new reps get on to training courses more quickly and supporting them in this crucial role for the Union.
Lifelong Learning has been a key priority for Paddy. He is Chair of Usdaw's National Lifelong Learning Steering Group. He has been active in promoting the importance of Lifelong Learning for Usdaw members.
Paddy is one of the Trade Union representatives on the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC). Paddy plays an active role in Labour’s National Policy Forum process and has been influential in making the case for Usdaw policies. He is also a regular member of the Usdaw delegation to the Trade Union Congress, where he has brought forward key issues affecting Usdaw members, such as insecure work and underemployment.
Paddy has been an Usdaw member for over 35 years. He joined Usdaw when he was employed as a heavy goods driver at Abbey Meat Packers in Newtonabbey, County Antrim in Northern Ireland.
He was appointed to the role of Usdaw Area Organiser in 1989. He worked as an Area Organiser at the Union's Bristol office for 8 years before becoming the Divisional Officer for South Wales and Western Division in 1997. He was elected as Deputy General Secretary in 2004.
Paddy Lillis biography correct at February 2018.