Naomi Pohl launches bid to lead Musicians' Union as Horace Trubridge withdraws from 2022 election

Naomi Pohl launches bid to lead Musicians' Union as Horace Trubridge withdraws from 2022 election

Naomi Pohl, deputy general secretary of the Musicians' Union (MU), has announced her intention to run for MU general secretary when the election process starts later this year. 

The MU will hold an election in advance of Horace Trubridge's term ending in March 2022. Trubridge was elected in 2017 and had previously announced his intention to stand again next year.

However, Music Week can reveal that Horace Trubridge will no longer be a candidate in 2022. He confirmed that he will not be putting himself forward for re-election.

Naomi Pohl said "The MU's current general secretary Horace Trubridge has been involved in the MU's senior management for many years and I want to pay tribute to all he's done for the Union and its members. He's been a powerful advocate.

“If elected to succeed him, I would fight to achieve meaningful change on behalf of all musicians and would prioritise improving their rights and income. I have over 20 years’ experience of working in arts sector trade unions and I believe I am the best person to take the union forward as we deal with the Covid recovery and Brexit.” 

If elected, Naomi Pohl would be the first woman to hold the post in the union’s 128-year history

"You can't stand aside and wait for positive change, you have to make it happen,” she said. “Equality, diversity and inclusion would be at the heart of my work as MU general secretary. All musicians deserve equal access and representation from their Union. The Union's SafeSpace service for survivors of sexual harassment is my proudest achievement to date."

I would fight to achieve meaningful change on behalf of all musicians

Naomi Pohl

As well as pressing the government on the impact of Brexit on touring and support during the pandemic, the trade union has worked alongside the Ivors Academy to make the case for musicians during the DCMS Committee streaming inquiry

“This has been the worst imaginable time for musicians and I have the experience, energy and vision to take the Union forward,” added Pohl. “I will build on the many relationships I have in the wider trade union movement, with music industry bodies, MPs and decision makers and put these to good use on behalf of all musicians, wherever they're based and however they make music."

Pohl was added to the Music Week Women In Music Roll Of Honour last year. She singled out Trubridge as someone who has supported her career.

"Horace Trubridge, current Musicians’ Union general secretary, encourages me, pushes me and I know has utter faith in me," she said in the Roll Of Honour interview. "At the MU, I have actually been promoted during maternity leave and I know this is not an experience that is common.” 

Last year the union’s governing body extended Trubridge’s current five-year term by three years until his planned retirement in 2025, aged 68, because of the “turbulent times” that members were going through.

However, Trubridge later asked the executive committee to rescind his retirement plan. In November 2020, he announced his intention to stand for re-election that, if successful, would have seen him with a mandate to continue as general secretary until 2027. But at the weekend he confirmed to Music Week that he will now step down in 2022, following the election of a new leader.

One of Trubridge's original pledges was to make joining the MU easier for musicians in order to grow the membership to a level that would make the union self-sufficient and not reliant on “diminishing licensing money”. 

In his message to members last November, Trubridge outlined his original plan to stay on for another term beyond 2025.

“This terrible pandemic has knocked everything into a cocked hat and whilst I must emphasise that we are not hemorrhaging members in an alarming way, the increase in membership month-on-month that we were enjoying until March this year has stalled," he said.

“Consequently, it has become apparent that the ‘project’ is going to be delayed by at least two years and that I may not have enough time left before my retirement date to complete the work that I started when I came into office.” 

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