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Trade Union Committee

Meet the committee responsible for our trade union function

The Trade Union Committee works to ensure that the RCN develops as a modern, progressive trade union – one that makes a positive difference to the working lives of nursing staff. The committee is accountable to the RCN Council. It works on the council’s behalf to make decisions on all the RCN’s trade union functions and activities.

RCN members can log in to see information from previous Trade Union Committee meetings. You can also find out more about the role and remit of the RCN Trade Union Committee by reading the Terms of Reference.

Your chair and vice chair

Fair Pay for Nursing placard image

There are 14 Trade Union Committee representatives across the UK. They are led by a chair and vice chair, who also serve on the committee as regional representatives.  

Denise Kelly Denise Kelly

Member for Northern Ireland, January 2022 - December 2025

Denise has 29 years’ experience in health and social care. She started her career as an auxiliary nurse in 1992 and began her registered nurse training in 1995 at The Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. Her many roles have included junior and senior staff nurse, ward manager and night sister, across intensive care, coronary care and patient flow, among other areas. She currently works as a full time senior clinical nurse coordinator on the Hospital At Night team.

Denise has undertaken postgraduate study in Health Service Management, Cardiology Nursing and Facilitation and Practice Development. She graduated with a postgraduate qualification in Strategic Workforce Planning in March 2020, and is currently undertaking a postgraduate taught study in non-medical prescribing. She is due to graduate in May 2022.

Due to this extensive experience, Denise understands the challenges facing RCN members. She is proud to be a dedicated RCN member, accredited Steward, health and safety representative and activist. Denise is also the current chair of the RCN’s Northern Branch.

Her primary focus is on the pay campaign and safe staffing, especially following successful industrial action undertaken by RCN members in Northern Ireland. Denise is passionate about the trade union work of the RCN, while also recognising the importance of its professional nursing work.

Denise received the RCN Award of Merit in 2020 for exceptional service to members.
Jackie Davies Jackie Davies

Member for Wales, January 2024 - December 2027

As a registered nurse, Jackie has a clinical professional background in mental health nursing and forensic psychiatry. An experienced Trade Unionist, Jackie has an interest in healthcare law, clinical negligence and employment law. Jackie graduated in law with an LLB (Hons) in 2006. In 2014 Jackie also obtained a Masters Degree in Healthcare Law and Ethics from Swansea University. Jackie is a board member with the Royal College of Nursing Wales Board, she has been a branch official within the RCN Glamorgan branch for several years holding various positions such as Chair, Treasurer, secretary and more recently Communications officer.

Jackie is currently an independent member of the Board of Swansea Bay University Health Board, a public appointment she has held since 2017. She is Chair of the Swansea Bay Armed Forces Forum and Chair of the Swansea Bay Organ Donation Committee.

Your regional representatives

Country and regional representatives are elected by members in their country or region. 

Helen Oatham Helen Oatham

Member for Eastern, January 2022 - December 2025

Helen is a registered mental health nurse with over 25 years’ experience in primary and secondary care and secure services. She is currently governance lead for an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service – a partnership between the NHS and other organisations.

Helen has been an RCN steward since 2007. As well as providing individual member support, she sits on her trust’s Staff Side committee. Within the RCN, Helen has held various positions on the Branch Executive and is currently chair of the RCN’s Norfolk Branch. Prior to being appointed to the Trade Union Committee, she served for six years on the Eastern Region Board, ultimately as Vice-Chair.

Helen is an active speaker at the RCN Congress. She is also heavily involved in campaign activities, notably speaking to MPs in Parliament about staffing and pay.
Karen Sanders Karen Sanders

Member for London, January 2022 - December 2025 

Karen has over 35 years’ nursing experience. Prior to becoming a Senior Lecturer at London South Bank University in the Adult Nursing and Midwifery Studies Department, Karen specialised in Adult Intensive Care and Neurosciences nursing and held Management, Practice Development and Education roles. In her present role Karen works with post–registration nurses and pre-registration nursing students. Karen is an RCN Learning Rep and served for two terms as Chair of the UK Learning Representatives Committee from January 2015 to December 2018.
Roaqah Shaher Roaqah Shaher

Member for Northern, January 2022 - December 2025

Roaqah has worked for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Middlesbrough since she qualified as an Adult Nurse in 2004. She is currently a Clinical Sister in the Cardiothoracic High Dependency Unit and also has experience as a Ward Manager in General Medicine.

Roaqah was accredited as a RCN Steward in 2007 and joined the Joint Partnership Committee soon after in 2008. After being elected to Vice Chair of the Staff Side Committee for 2 years, she was elected to Staff Side Chair in 2015 and have remained in that position since. Within the RCN Tees Valley Branch she has held the position of Vice Chair and Secretary. She has been the Treasurer of the branch for the last 3 years.


Mike Travis Mike Travis

Member for North West, January 2022 - December 2025

Mike is a Surgical Nurse within the Intensive Care and High Dependency Units at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, where he has worked for over 35 years. In his time at Alder Hey, he has also held roles as Risk Manager and Manual Handling Co-Ordinator. Mike has been actively involved with the RCN ever since becoming an RCN Steward in 1980. He became a Safety Rep two years later and has gone on to serve in a range of capacities including three full terms on RCN Council, and as a member of the Congress Agenda Committee.


Tobias Kunkel Tobias Kunkel

Member for Scotland, January 2024 - December 2027

Tobias has more than 20 years nursing experience working in several large UK and EU hospital trusts, and is currently employed by NHS Lothian in Edinburgh as a Senior Nurse Practitioner in the Minor Injuries Unit. He is a passionate campaigner for safeguarding and improving the health, safety and wellbeing of staff and patients. A member of the RCN since 2001, Tobias is currently Treasurer of the Lothian and Borders branch committee. He is dual accredited as an RCN Steward and Safety Rep, and is a member of the Pan-Lothian Health and Safety Committee and the Joint Staffside Committee. Tobias believes in the importance of building strong relationships, and is driven by a deep sense of fairness, and will bring this approach to his time on the committee.


Ann-Marie Fredericks

Ann-Marie Fredericks

Member for South East, January 2024 - December 2027

Ann-Marie, a qualified nurse since 2010, holds eight years of practical experience in a Caribbean country before transitioning to the UK NHS. Currently serving as a Clinical Practice Facilitator in Professional Development at Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, her clinical background includes roles in general medical and surgical nursing, nursing home management, and acute respiratory care.

In 2021 Ann-Marie completed training in Resilience Based Clinical Supervision from the Foundation of Nursing Studies and in 2023 achieved her Postgraduate Certificate in Education for Health Professionals at the University of Surrey.

With dedication to patient-centred care, Ann-Marie emphasises safeguarding the public by prioritising the well-being of the staff entrusted with their care. She advocates for recognising nurses and professionals as individuals first, beyond their roles as employees.

A supporter of the Fair Pay for Nursing campaign, Ann-Marie continues to champion the fight for fair compensation. Since joining the RCN in 2020 and becoming an RCN Steward in 2021, she remains dedicated to promoting and valuing the overall health and well-being of fellow members. Serving as a link to the Equality Diversity and Inclusion team, Freedom to Speak Up guardian, and Staff Wellbeing lead, Ann-Marie also holds the role of Here for You Champion, advocating for a positive employee experience.

Jane Matthews

Jane Matthews

Member for South West, January 2024 - December 2027

Jane Matthews, started her nurse training later in life, and has been a registered nurse since 2010. Jane is duel Registered as a Children’s Nurse and SCPHN/HV Specialist Community Public Health Nurse, Health Visitor for the under 5’s.   Her experience includes working in primary and secondary care. Patient centred care is a priority for her and a staunch supporter of the fair pay for nurses and safer staffing campaigns. 

Jane an active member of the Greater Bristol Branch has held various positions on the executive and is the current Chairperson.  As an accredited RCN steward and Health and Safety rep, she is the H&S Officer for the trust Joint Union Committee.  As a member of staff side Jane was influential in the negotiations for the band 2 – 3 up banding working collectively with the other union reps within UHBW.

Jane was involved in the organisation, derogation and strike action at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston last year.  Being able to inform, motivate, and empower the members to make informed decisions about the strike. The response from the members was humbling; from the vote to the picket line, the support was overwhelming.  The involvement in the strikes, at a local level has been a very good experience, which will stand her in good stead for her term on the Trade Union Committee.

Mark Butler

Mark Butler

Member for West Midlands, January 2024 - December 2027

Mark became an RCN Activist as a student, when he was a Student Information Officer. Shortly after becoming a Registered Nurse, Mark completed his accreditation as an RCN Steward and has continued to represent RCN members for 25 years. He has represented the RCN West Midlands by Chairing the regional Staffing for Safe and Effective Care Campaign, as well as serving as RCN West Midlands Board Chair for three years from 2019 to 2021. 

At the end of his time as Board Chair, Mark had decided to step away from his RCN roles to retire, however the monumental industrial action ballot by members kept him busy. Mark felt lucky to welcome new members of the RCN to his NHS Trust and a number of new activists too, so chose to continue in his role as a Steward. He was humbled to be awarded the RCN Award of Merit in 2023 for his service with the RCN in the West Midlands. Mark was appointed to the Trade Union Committee in 2023, and hopes to continue to support the RCN West Midlands Region and the amazing nurses and the nursing family represented there.

Your nursing support and student representatives

Nursing support workers and students also have representatives, who are elected by members in these categories. 

Dennis Greer Dennis Greer

Nursing Support Worker member, January 2022 - December 2025

Dennis is a Senior Nursing Assistant in the Rapid Response Team and a Healthcare Practitioner in a GP practice at Omagh Hospital and primary care complex. He served on the Nursing Support Workers Committee from 2014-2020, including as Vice-Chair from 2016 and is very active within his branch as the RCN South Western Branch Secretary and as an RCN Network lead for Nursing Support Workers in Northern Ireland. Dennis is a Steward and is currently undertaking training as a Safety Rep.
Usman Adeyemo

Student member, January 2024 - December 2025

Usman is a third-year Mental Health Nursing student at Teesside University in Middlesbrough, North East England. He is an RCN Student Ambassador for Teesside University. Usman is a proud alumnus of the famous Baptist Boys’ High School (BBHS), Abeokuta, Nigeria, where his leadership and advocacy potentials were discovered. He has a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Microbiology from the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta, Nigeria. 
Usman is passionate about fostering diversity, inclusivity and breaking down barriers that hinder equal access to healthcare and opportunities within the healthcare profession. Growing up in a multi-cultural environment, he has had varied experience in advocating for people’s rights and interests. With a passion for speaking up for the rights of less-privileged in his community in Nigeria, Usman has played a pivotal role in negotiating good living conditions, provision of basic amenities and promoting educational initiatives within the community. His commitment to fostering a supportive environment for all, has made him an invaluable asset to his immediate community in Nigeria. 
As a member of RCN Trade Union Committee and ex-officio member of the RCN UK Students Committee, Usman is committed to always advocate for fair pay for nursing, owing to his vast knowledge of the economy and his first-hand experience on impacts of inflation on the living conditions of the RCN members. 
His experience in student leadership positions, including his previous role as the alumni president of his Alma mater, the Baptist Boys’ High School, Abeokuta Old Boys’ Association, MAPOLY chapter Nigeria, has afforded him the opportunity to develop his organisational and advocacy skills. Usman has successfully represented students’ interests and worked with faculties and administrations to improve students’ welfare and education experience.