The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)
The Irish Congress of Tra
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The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)


The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)

Politics and Administration


The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), formed in 1959 by the merger of the Irish Trades Union Congress (founded in 1894) and the Congress of Irish Unions (founded in 1945), is a national trade union centre, the umbrella organisation to which trade unions in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland affiliate.


There are currently 55 trade unions with membership of Congress, representing about 600,000 members in the Republic of Ireland. Trade union members represent 35.1% of the Republic's workforce. This is a significant decline since the 55.3% recorded in 1980 and the 38.5% reported in 2003. In the Republic, roughly 50% of union members are in the public sector. The ICTU represents trade unions in negotiations with employers and the government with regard to pay and working conditions.


The supreme policy-making body of Congress is the Biennial Delegate Conference, to which affiliated unions send delegates. On a day-to-day basis Congress is run by an Executive Committee and a staffed secretariat headed up by the general secretary, Owen Reidy who succeeded Patricia King in the position in 2022.

Justin McCamphill of NASUWT became President of Congress at the biennial conference in Kilkenny in July 2023 succeeding Kevin Callinan of Fórsa. The president serves for a two-year period and is normally succeeded by one of two vice-presidents.

Congress is the sole Irish affiliate of the ETUC, the representative body for trade unions at European level and of the International Trade Union Confederation ITUC.


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Alena Potapova

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