Australian trade union leader, Gerard Dwyer, has been unanimously elected President of UNI Global Union at the 6th UNI World Congress in Philadelphia, USA.
Dwyer has an exceptional track record as a trade union official for over thirty years and is a long-standing member of UNI’s Asia & Pacific Executive Committee, as well as President of UNI Commerce in the region.
“Brother Gerard is a wonderful and inspiring leader, who is calm in the most difficult of situations. I can’t think of a better person to lead us through these tumultuous times,” said Akihiko Matsuura, President of UNI Asia and Pacific.
Gerard is National Secretary-Treasurer of UNI affiliate, the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’ Association (SDA), which is one of Australia’s largest trade unions. On accepting the nomination, Gerard said:
“We’ve adopted new statutes that make us fit for purpose. We have a new platform to underpin our next four years. We need to organize, to hold corporations to account, support working people as we deal with climate change, and create decent work. One decent job should be enough to support our material needs and social needs, like being able to care for those we love.”
Dwyer highlighted environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) as a pressure point unions can and must use more effectively: “The S of ESG is running a poor second. S is social and we need to work harder to promote the S because inside the social is decent work.”
Gerard takes the helm from Ruben Cortina from Argentina who led UNI during the uncertainty and demands of the pandemic. “As numerous affiliates have said, Ruben, you were always there for them. We congratulate you on the passion and energy you have brought to this role and we thank you,” said Dwyer.
Gerard grew up in regional New South Wales and moved to Sydney at the age of 18 to pursue tertiary studies. He has a Bachelor of Education (History and English, 1989), a Masters of Business in Employment Relations (UTS, 2002) and is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Gerard’s working life has seen him employed as a shop assistant, classroom teacher, social worker and as a Trade Union Official for over 30 years.