UNION leader Davey Hall has decided to step down after almost 40 years supporting workers in the region.
Mr Hall said he has decided to call it a day as regional secretary for Unite in the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside, where he has helped defend the rights of 100,000 people, including many in Sunderland.
The 60-year-old admitted the past few years had been really tough, including representing more than 2,000 workers who lost their jobs after the collapse of Northern Rock.
Mr Hall says he has no plans at the moment, after his departure from his union role, but said he was open to offers.
He said: “I have decided to step down purely to give someone else a chance to take on the role as well as take a fresh approach to my own life. I have no immediate plans and am keeping my options open.”
The union man started his career as shop steward at shipbuilders Swan Hunter in the mid 1970s, representing 500 engineering workers.
Kevin Rowan, regional secretary of the Northern TUC, praised Mr Hall and all the work he has done over the years.
He said: “Davey is a true leader in every sense of the word, never ducking the difficult decisions and always thoughtful and considerate in how he has operated within the trade union movement.”