IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Union secretary ‘proud’ of her 20 years of service

15 November, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Jane Doolan at last Friday’s event with Roger McKenzie, Unison’s assistant general secretary

A PIONEERING trade unionist who helped introduce “one of the country’s best” maternity packages for Town Hall workers celebrated 20 years as branch secretary this week.

Jane Doolan, 61, who is the branch secretary of Islington Unison – the trade union representing public sector workers – was showered with gifts by her colleagues to mark two decades in her role during an open day event at the Town Hall on Friday.

She said as one of just a few female branch secretaries she was “patronised” by various men when she first started in her role.

“You did sometimes get the odd man who sort of thinks they can look down on you. I don’t put up with it. I don’t get into big rows but if that happens I just give them a look really,” she said.

She pushed for “inclusive” maternity packages for both men and women at the Town Hall and helped introduce “career breaks” so people could come back to work on a similar grade after five years.

Ms Doolan has been active in the trade union movement for 40 years and said she is “proud” of having helped bring various services back in-house at the council.

She started working as a library assistant at the Central Library in Holloway Road when she was just 16 years old.

“It’s ludicrous not to join a trade union and when I was 16 it was what you did so that you knew you had your rights at work protected,” she said.

Mike Calvert, deputy branch secretary at Unison, said: “She was integrally involved in negotiating one of the best maternity packages the country has ever seen and was centrally involved in getting tampon machines installed in all staff toilets in the council.

“Jane’s contribution to defending and representing the interests of working people is unparalleled and her role in the union amazing.”

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