Is the title of the principal trade union officer in most UK trade unions. The general secretary is a paid full-time officer who leads the union and is responsible for implementing its policy and managing its resources. The main public figures of the trade union movement are the general secretaries of the largest, most prominent unions. In virtually all cases, general secretaries are elected to their posts by a secret ballot of members. This is a requirement of legislation introduced by the Conservative government in the 1980s, which was designed to ensure the replacement of militant union leaders with moderates, purportedly more in tune with membership opinion. The effect, in most cases, has not been to change the political leanings of union leadership but to endow general secretaries with greater authority, by virtue of their electoral mandate.
Subjects: Human Resource Management.