Born in 1965 in Germany, where her father was teaching in a British forces school, Hunt was educated at a comprehensive school in Chippenham, Wiltshire. She studied international relations at the University of Sussex from 1983 until 1987, serving as vice-president of the students' union.
Hunt was the last General Secretary of the Association of University Teachers (AUT), having held that post since 2002. On 1 June 2006 the AUT merged with the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) to form the UCU.
As head of the AUT, she and Paul Mackney (Head of NATFHE), led industrial action, over three years until 2006, in support of a pay rise for higher education staff exceeding 20%. The actions disrupted university exams and provision of marks across the UK. In the end members voted heavily in favour of accepting a rise of 13.1% phased over the three years, with the final year's figure subject to further increase in line with inflation. The final year's figure was to be "2.5% or RPI, whichever is greater". In the end, the RPI was at its peak and was 5%, resulting in that being the level of the final year's pay rise.
Hunt was elected as the first General Secretary of UCU on 9 March 2007, narrowly beating main challenger Roger Kline (ex-NATFHE, and UCU Head of Equalities) by some 1346 votes after the second preference votes of third candidate Peter Jones were allocated after Jones was eliminated in an inconclusive first round. The election turnout was 13.9% out of an electorate of just over 116,000 UCU Members. She was re-elected on 2 March 2012, defeating her only opponent, Mark Campbell (ex-NATFHE, the chair of the UCU Co-ordinating Committee at London Metropolitan University and a member of the National Executive Council of UCU since 2008) by a 73% to 27% margin (or 6835 votes); Campbell was supported by the UCU Left. The turnout was 12.5% out of an electorate of 117,918. Hunt is the UCU representative to the TUC and a member of the TUC general council. Her first union job was as a senior research officer with the union later known as ACCORD.
A report by the Taxpayers' Alliance highlighted the 38 Trade Union General Secretaries and Chief Executives on remuneration exceeding £100,000 in 2008/9. Sally Hunt was placed at number 33 with a salary and benefits package worth a total of £106,782.
- [dead link]
- Will Woodward (12 April 2005). "Sally Hunt: A little less conversation | Education". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
- "UK | Education | University pay talks reach deal". BBC News. 2006-06-06. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
- "Mark Campbell for UCU General Secretary". Uculeft.org. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
- "Electoral Reform Services". Ucu.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
- Ashley, Dan (9 March 2007). "Sally Hunt is elected first general secretary of UCU". Retrieved 23 December 2010.
-  "Trade Union Rich List"
|General Secretary of the Association of University Teachers
|General Secretary of the University and College Union
with Paul Mackney 2006-2007