About myself, about blogging on Amnesty-Union solidarity

I've had a lot of kind remarks since starting this blog and our friends in the union movement have been very encouraging and keen to get the word out – maybe there's a gap in the "blogosphere" that these postings can help address. I want to thank our talented and enthusiastic web team for holding my hand, and I hope we will soon see some guest contributions from some of our trade union partners. Human rights belong to us all – so let's use this space to share solidarity and explain our differences (without giving any secrets away to despots or dictators!).

One website that was new to me is Tigmoo – which acts as a sort of consolidator or syndicator of UK union blogs – it describes itself as "all the union news that's fit to blog" but some of it strikes me as quite unfit – a great source for gossip as well as debate on what's moving and motivating the labour movement. I am delighted that this blog has been invited to join such distinguished and distinct voices.

I promised I'd post something about myself, so here it is. There are plenty of stories behind these bare facts, but best  to buy me a beer if you want the low-down! The text that follows is my quasi-official biography which I use for work purposes when absolutely required (for example when being introduced as a speaker), and I am shy enough about needing one, so I don't elaborate on the text here. It's meant to outline my credentials, so it says nothing about the fun and heartache on the way…

Shane Enright was appointed as the Trade Union Campaigns Manager of Amnesty International’s UK section at the end of 2006. He has subsequently also been designated ‘global trade union adviser to the Amnesty movement’ – supporting the Amnesty Secretariat and sections worldwide on trade union liaison and solidarity.

Shane has been a trade unionist all his working life. Many years of workplace and branch activism, bargaining and representation were followed by five years at his union head office, the UK Transport & General Workers’ Union, in various policy, international and industrial research staff positions. Shane then spent ten years traveling the world for the London-based International Transport Workers Federation including four years as Aviation Secretary – contributing to a doubling of membership to close to a million aviation workers, extending reach to more than one hundred countries and bringing in entirely new constituencies, marked by innovative global campaigning and a strong reputation on intergovernmental and regulatory affairs.

Shane’s working life began in a sandwich bar and an engineering stockroom followed by jobs in a homelessness project, on youth training schemes and at a bookstore. He was the founder-employee both of a long-standing lesbian and gay employment rights organisation and of a shorter-lived union-sponsored community youth rights project.

He was a co-founder in the early-1980s of the influential national voluntary sector combine committee, as well as serving six years as his union branch’s lay pay and conditions officer, supporting a large volume of disputes, grievances, disciplinaries and contract negotiations amongst the three hundred workplaces represented. Organising was the priority and during his time in the branch, membership almost doubled and three new branches were established from the kernel of his own. Shane has also held many other elected positions in his union and has advocated and campaigned for many causes, particularly on international solidarity and around HIV/AIDS.

In his international union roles he has led delegations or held representative positions in ICAO, ILO, OECD, and at other intergovernmental forums and regulatory agencies, including long-term work on aviation safety. Shane has been involved, in one capacity or other, with Amnesty for three decades.

Commenting on his role at Amnesty, which ranges from front-line activism to strategic networking, Shane Enright said…

Amnesty and the trade union movement are both activist movements which share a commitment to social justice and individual liberty. I am in the lucky position to be at an interface of these powerful forces for good as we celebrate 30 years of shared activism here in the UK.”

Shane was awarded a distinction in an MA in Arts Criticism and Management by City University in London 2006, and also has a diploma in Trade Union Studies from the University of Surrey/TGWU 1989 and a diploma in Psychology from the University of London 1982. He has strong foundations in sciences and mathematics and speaks and reads Spanish and French. His passion is bird watching, and cloud forests and arctic tundra his preferred habitats. He is also a regularly published critic of, and advocate for, contemporary ceramics. In 2004 he was awarded Honorary Membership of Aircraft Engineers International “for services to global aviation safety.” He was born in London and raised in Spain in the 1960's.

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