Friday, 1 July 2011

First Gay Secretary for local Police Union

Maureen Le Marinel, Branch Secretary for UNISON’s Lancashire Police Branch, was elected Vice President of the Union at its national conference in June 2011 and is the first gay woman to hold this office in the union.

Maureen’s long-term commitment to trade unions started in 1984. After being discharged from the Army for being gay, she took a job in Lancashire Constabulary’s control room. After her six-month review, she ‘came out’ at work.

“After coming out in the workplace I was targeted for bullying by senior members of the force," recalls Maureen of how she became involved in Trade Unionism. "But after one phone call to my union, NALGO at the time, which later merged to form UNISON, the matter was dealt with in very positive and progressive way for the time and it inspired me to get more involved.

"I soon became a steward, and my role grew as the equality laws were taking shape, and the force used me as an unofficial policy person.”

She was an assistant branch secretary for about ten years, and when Lancashire Police’s own branch was founded in 2006, she became its Branch Secretary. Maureen has been sitting on regional committees since the early 90’s. She became the police staff representative on the national police service group in 2000, and joined the National Executive Council, the union’s highest lay body, in 2003.

Through her time on the Presidential team, Maureen will be focussing on pushing the union’s agenda of fairness forward.

“Throughout my life, fairness has always been key," she says. "UNISON is not a banging on the table type of union – we want to find a fair and reasonable solution that is best for everyone. This is a guiding principle that will take me through my presidential term, as I help the union, and public services, face head on some of the biggest challenges that we have faced in my lifetime.”

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