Doug Nicholls (trade unionist)

Douglas Nicholls (born 1956) is a British trade union leader and writer.

Nicholls was a part-time youth worker in Oxford in 1975, when he joined the Community and Youth Workers' Union (CYWU). In 1982, he moved to Coventry to work full-time in the field, and in 1987 he was elected as general secretary of the CYWU.[1]

He was Secretary of the Coventry Trade Union Council 1984-1994 and the Secretary of the Coventry Miners' Support Committee during the great strike 1984/85.

In 2007, Nicholls took the CYWU into a merger with the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU);[2] a few months later, the TGWU became part of Unite the Union, and Nicholls served as a national secretary of Unite until 2011.[3]

Nicholls was elected to the Executive of the General Federation of Trade Unions in 1995 and served as its President from 2007 until 2009. He was elected as the Federation's General Secretary in 2012.[4]

He became Chair of the national Chooseyouth campaign in 2011. This is an organisation composed of most youth service related organisations and young people's groups that campaigns for a statutory Youth Service.

In 2015, Nicholls became the first chair of Trade Unionists Against the European Union.[5]

In 2021 he was elected as the first Chair of Rebuild Britain.

Selected book publicationsEdit

  • The Dance of Death, with illustrations by Tim Holman. Quatrain poems. 1979.
  • Speaking Tools, Poems 1975-2005.
  • Health and Safety in Youth and Community Work.
  • Managing Violence and Aggression in Youth and Community Work.
  • The EU: Bad for Britain - A Trade Union View. Bread Books. December 2005. ISBN 978-0954211257.
  • For Youth Workers and Youth Work: speaking out for a better future. Bristol: Policy Press. May 2012. doi:10.2307/j.ctt1t6p78b. ISBN 978-1847428707.
  • Lugalbanda, Lover of the Seed. Version with notes of a Sumerian poem. Manifesto Press.
  • Editor: Workers' PlayTime, seven scripts from seven struggles. Selected plays about key moments in trade union history with an introduction.
  • Advisor: For the Many Not the Few, A History of Britain Shaped by the People.
  • Link contributor: Trade Union Education, Transforming the World.


  1. ^ Rogers, Emily. "Big interview: The trade union flag bearer - Doug Nicholls, general secretary, Community and Youth Workers' Union". Children & Young People Now. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  2. ^ Carter, Peter (2009). Historical Directory of Trade Unions: Volume 6. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing. p. 449. ISBN 9780754666837.
  3. ^ Nicholls, Doug. "Tribute to Paul Boskett". Unite the Union. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  4. ^ "New GFTU leader". Labour Research. Labour Research Department. December 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  5. ^ Nicholls, Doug (23 July 2015). "The Only Good Vote Is A No Vote". Morning Star. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
Trade union offices
Preceded by
Keith Bell
General Secretary of the Community and Youth Workers' Union
1987 – 2007
Succeeded by
Position abolished
Preceded by
Garry Oakes
Chair of the General Federation of Trade Unions
2007 – 2009
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Michael Bradley
General Secretary of the General Federation of Trade Unions
2012 – present
Succeeded by