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Sally Hunt is elected first general secretary of UCU

9 March 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

Sally Hunt has been elected as the first general secretary of the University and College Union.

The union was formed on 1 June 2006 following a merger between the Association of University Teachers (AUT) and the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE).

Ms Hunt secured just over 52% of the vote after the second round of counting and was duly declared UCU general secretary by the returning officers this morning. She will take up the post on 1 June 2007. The other candidates were Peter Jones, UCU member and Roger Kline UCU head of equality and employment rights. The turnout was just under 14% (13.95%).

Speaking after the result, Sally Hunt said: 'Having been so involved in bringing the two unions together I am honoured that the membership has asked me to take the new union forward.

'Now is a time for unity as we build a union to protect our members and increase public recognition of their important work. I am relishing the opportunity of working with everyone, whether they voted for me or not, to build a bigger, better, and stronger union.'

The election used the single transferable vote (STV) system, where a candidate needs over 50% of the vote to be declared the winner. After the first round no candidate had secured enough votes so the lowest scoring candidate was removed. That candidate was Peter Jones and his second preferences were transferred to the two remaining candidates. At that point Sally Hunt received 52.08% of the votes and was declared the winner.

Sally Hunt was elected general secretary of the AUT in 2002. Following AUT's merger with NATFHE she has been UCU joint general secretary. Prior to joining AUT Sally was an assistant general secretary of the Nationwide Group Staff Union (NGSU), having been appointed in 1991.

Her first job in the trade union movement was as a senior research officer with the financial trade union now known as Accord.

Sally Hunt, along with former NATFHE general secretary, Paul Mackney, was the driving force behind the merger of the two unions. Ms Hunt holds a number of positions outside the union and is now in her third year of representing AUT and now UCU on the general council of the Trades Union Congress (TUC). Her duties include being the TUC's spokesperson on international issues.

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