Former Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) official, Esther Lynch has been elected general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).
The ETUC represents 45 million members from 93 trade union organisations in 41 European countries, speaking with a single voice on behalf of European workers to have a stronger say in EU decision-making.
Esther has served as the ETUC’s deputy general secretary since 2019, following four years as confederal secretary, and served as ICTU’s Legislation and Social Affairs officer for a number of years prior to her move to Europe. As a staff member of ICTU Esther was also a member of Fórsa, and still proudly refers to Fórsa as her union.
ICTU president and Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan said the ETUC will benefit from Esther’s considerable policy experience: “Esther is a passionate trade unionist, a person of enormous empathy and understanding when it comes to workers’ concerns, and has a formidable skill and intellect for good policy development.
“Her legacy in Ireland includes considerable work on legislation to protect whistle-blowers, and legislation to create a transparent register of lobbyists. The ETUC is in very good hands, and I wish Esther every success in her new role,” he said.
ICTU General Secretary, Owen Reidy added: “The trade union movement in Europe has a formidable champion of workers’ rights at the helm, and it’s a proud moment for the Irish trade union movement.
“Now, more than ever, we need strong voices speaking on behalf of and protecting the rights of European workers in EU decision-making. I wish Esther well as she takes on her new responsibilities and she has ICTU’s full support,” he said.
Elected as a shop steward in the 1980s, Esther developed extensive trade union experience at Irish, European, and international levels. Her work with ICTU included negotiations on Ireland’s national social partner agreements.
Esther’s responsibilities in her new post include social dialogue, collective bargaining and wage policy, trade union rights, gender equality and Brexit.
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