Paul Noon has been re-elected to a third term as General Secretary of Prospect, the 102,000-strong union for professionals. First elected in 1998, Noon, 55, was returned unopposed to serve another five-year term until 2013.
Commenting, Noon said that the current economic situation posed a real threat to the livelihood of thousands of professionals working for industry and government. “Our ability to defend engineers, scientists and managers in the current downturn depends on maintaining effective relations with hundreds of employers. That is what Prospect does best but must do still better if we are to raise the rewards and standing of skilled workers in the UK.”
Half of Prospect’s members are in the public sector and have faced stiff challenges to their pay and pensions which are likely to be made worse by a change of Government at the next election, Noon said. “Our opposition to imposed detrimental change will be every bit as strong with a Tory or Tory-Lib Dem Government as it has been with Labour.”
More widely, Prospect will continue to focus on environmental issues and climate change, said Noon, who is also TUC spokesman on the environment and co-chairs TUSDAC (Trade Union Sustainable Development Advisory Committee) together with Secretary of State for Defra, Hilary Benn.
“These are exciting times for the energy sector where Prospect is central to the debate on the future of energy supply and the development of the nuclear industry,” he said. On Thursday, Noon will attend the first meeting of the Nuclear Development Forum, the new Government-industry body to discuss nuclear new-build, to which he has been appointed by Business Secretary John Hutton.
Noon was recently re-elected to the TUC General Council and the TUC Executive Committee. He is also a member of the Executive Board of Public Services International.
Noon said the architecture of the UK trade union movement was shifting because of the creation of mega-unions like Unison and Unite. As General Secretary of Prospect he would seek to retain its specialist niche and would not support merger with a larger union.
But Prospect would always be interested in moves to consolidate professional and specialist unions, he said. “That is where the growth areas of employment and the economy lie over the next twenty years.”
Noon lives in Bexley, Kent, with wife Eileen – a Prospect member who is Chief Operating Officer for the Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich, London. He has two grown-up daughters, Helen and Alice.