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Decent jobs, not austerity


Tuesday 4 June 2013

09:30 - 16:00

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Dublin Castle (Printworks and Conference Centre), Dame St, Dublin 2, Ireland


The disastrous impact of austerity measures on employment standards will be the focus of a major pre-congress seminar in Dublin Castle, chaired by IFJ president Jim Boumelha.

David Begg, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), an outspoken critic of Irish and EU austerity measures, will outline the impact on Irish employment standards of the failed economic policies.

The ICTU has consistently opposed austerity measures and David Begg has frequency sought to protect the threshold of decency in employment standards as vested financial interests used the crisis in banking to drive down wages.

His UK counterpart Frances O'Grady, the first women appointed to the post of British TUC general secretary, will re-enforce the message of trade union opposition to austerity, drawing on the experience of UK workers and setting out the TUC agenda of opposition to policies which undermine employment.

The wider European implications will be set out by Patrick Itschert, deputy general secretary, European Trade Union Confederation.

About the speakers:

David Begg has been general secretary since 2001. He is a non-executive director of Aer Lingus, and a member of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC). He sits on the executive committee of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).

He is a former governor of The Irish Times Trust and was chief executive of Concern Worldwide, an international humanitarian organisation working in 27 countries with offices in Dublin, London, Belfast, New York and Chicago.

From 1995-2010, he was director of the Irish Central Bank. From 1985-1997, he was general secretary of the Communications Workers' Union of Ireland and, from 1979-1985, he was general secretary of ESBOA, a union in the Irish energy sector. He started his career as an electrical engineer technologist with the Irish Electricity Supply Board. He holds a master's degree in International Relations from Dublin City University.

Frances O'Grady was appointed general secretary of the TUC in January, having served as deputy general secretary since 20003. She is a member of the NUJ. Before the TUC, she worked for the Transport and General Workers Union, where she worked on successful campaigns to stop the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board and for the introduction of a national minimum wage, equal pay for women and on a range of industrial wage claims.

In 1994, she was appointed as TUC campaigns officer and ran campaigns for equal rights for part-timers and against low pay. In 1997, she was appointed to head the New Unionism campaign and launched the TUC's Organising Academy.

She went on to head the TUC's organisation department in 1999 and reorganised local bargaining for skills projects into the unified national brand of unionlearn which has grown to help a quarter of a million workers into learning every year.

Patrick Itschert was elected deputy general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation at the Athens Congress in May 2011. From 2009 to 2011, he served as general secretary of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation, which has 220 affiliates in 110 countries representing more than 10 million members.

He has served as a delegate to the European Economic and Social Committee's Consultative Commission on Industrial Change and as general secretary of the European Trade Union Federation: Textiles, Clothing and Leather. He is also a former director of the Institut du Textile et de la Confection de Belgique. He has served as adviser to the cabinet of the deputy prime minister and budget minister in Belgium.

Advisory note: The one-day seminar is open to accredited delegates and observers. Members of IFJ affiliates may also attend the pre-congress conference.

Please note that admission for non-accredited delegates and observers is on a first come, first service basis. The first session begins at 9.30am with opening comments by IFJ general secretary Beth Costa.

This event is for NUJ members only. Please consider joining the NUJ if you would like to attend this event.

Tags: , ifj, austerity, ictu, tuc, etuc, dublin