The Irish trade unionist, Esther Lynch, has been appointed as the new general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation. She succeeds Luca Visentini who was recently elected general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).
Lynch – the first Irish general secretary of the ETUC – became a union representative when she worked in a micro-chip factory in the 1980s. She went on to work at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions for two decades, where she worked on the negotiations of Ireland’s national pay and social partnership agreements. She joined the ETUC in 2015.
The ETUC’s new general secretary says she will fight to “prevent another lost decade of austerity” and instead push for policies which put Europe on the side of working people – including:
- achieving fair pay and ending economic injustice through a Europe-wide initiative to promote the benefits of collective bargaining
- securing equal pay for work of equal value to end the undervaluing of work done predominantly by women
- restoring security in employment, and stop the spread of bogus self-employment and other ‘new’ work arrangements that undermine hard-fought-for rights
- new rights for workers and unions to anticipate and manage change in the workplace and a just transition with genuine protections for workers and regions impacted by the shift to a low carbon economy.
As we write this newsletter, there are widespread newspaper reports that the former general secretary of the ETUC, Luca Visentini, recently elected as general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, was among those detained by Belgium police in connection with allegation of bribery in the European Parliament, which appears to be traced back to Qatar. On Tuesday, the ITUC released a statement on the matter. You can read it HERE