|Joint-General Secretary of Unite the Union|
1 July 2007 – 31 January 2011
Serving with Derek Simpson
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Len McCluskey|
|General Secretary of the TGWU|
1 May 2004 – 30 June 2007
|Preceded by||Bill Morris|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
2 January 1948 |
Anthony Woodley (born 2 January 1948) is a British trade unionist who was the Joint-General Secretary of Unite, a union formed through the merger of Amicus and the Transport and General Workers' Union, from 2007 to 2011. Despite stepping down as Joint-General Secretary, he remained as the Head of Organising for Unite until December 2013 and is still a consultant to the union. He was previously the General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers union (T&G) from 2004 to 2007.
Born in Wallasey, Merseyside, he was educated at a secondary modern school on the Wirral. At the age of 15, he was taken on by the Ocean Steam Ship Company, working as a steward for four years. In 1967, he started working for Vauxhall Motors at Ellesmere Port, where he first joined the TGWU.
In 1980, he was elected as a full-time union convenor; his father George had also been a union convenor at the plant for the National Union of Vehicle Builders. He was also appointed as a full-time district official of the TGWU in 1989, later becoming the National Officer of the Vehicle Building and Automotive Group, and was elected as TGWU Deputy General Secretary in 2002.
He first came to national prominence when, on 30 May 2003, he was elected to succeed Bill Morris as General Secretary of the TGWU. He received 66,958 votes, 21,822 more than the second-placed candidate Jack Dromey, who was widely perceived as the Blairite candidate. He was considered to be a member of the so-called "Awkward Squad" of trade union leaders opposed to New Labour policies that they perceived to be against the interests of working people.
After his election he said in an interview with The Independent newspaper:
- "A priority for stronger unions in the workplace must be a repeal of the anti-union laws ... British employment laws make it easier and cheaper to sack workers than on the Continent. I will campaign to stop the scandal of British workers being the cannon fodder of Europe."
At the 2009 Labour Party Conference, Woodley tore up a copy of The Sun newspaper as he made a speech. This was following the paper's announcement that they would be supporting the Conservative Party at the 2010 General Election, having backed the winning Labour Party at the previous three elections.
On tearing the paper, he said:
- "In Liverpool, we learnt a long time ago what to do [tear the paper]. I suggest the rest of the country does the same thing."
This was a reference to The Sun's controversial reporting of the Hillsborough Disaster 20 years earlier, which had caused widespread public outrage, particularly in Liverpool, as the disaster claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans, who mostly lived in or near the city. Many people on Merseyside still refuse to buy the newspaper and a number of newsagents still refuse to stock it.
Woodley is also the President of Football Conference North side Vauxhall Motors F.C. despite being a childhood supporter of Everton FC. He lives in Ellesmere Port. He married Janet Timmis and they have a son (born September 1990).
- "Union boss rips up copy of Sun". BBC News. 30 September 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- on YouTube
|Trade union offices|
|Deputy General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union
|General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union
|General Secretary of Unite
With: Derek Simpson