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April 19, 2012

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Brendan Barber to relinquish the helm at the TUC

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber is to retire from the organisation at the end of this year, it was announced yesterday (18 April).

Mr Barber, who has worked for the union body for 37 years and served as its leader for the last nine, said he had decided the time is right to make a change in his life. He added: “The TUC has always been a powerful voice for the millions of ordinary people who depend on trade unions to better their lives and there is so much of our work over the years in which I take great pride. But I have every confidence that under new leadership the TUC can go from strength to strength.”

During his time at the TUC Lancashire-born Mr Barber, 61, played a lead role in many of its high-profile initiatives, including the launch of Unionlearn, through which a quarter of a million people access new learning opportunities every year, and assisted unions and employers to resolve a number of difficult and long-running disputes.

TUC president Paul Kenny said: “Brendan has made an immense contribution to the trade-union movement and has been one of the most successful TUC general secretaries. I hope he will continue to make a huge contribution to the movement after he leaves the TUC.”

Mr Barber’s opposite number at the CBI, John Cridland, also paid tribute to his “long record of distinguished service” at the TUC. He added: “Faced with the complexity of doing business in the 21st century Brendan has been the rational face of trade-unionism, showing an understanding of the pressures UK businesses face to remain globally competitive. His measured leadership has been very much in evidence in dispute resolution, particularly in the public sector.”

The election of Mr Barber’s successor will take place at the 2012 Congress in September. It is widely expected that his deputy, Frances O’Grady, will get the role, making her the first female general secretary in the TUC’s history.

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12 years ago

Nice and educated though she is, she still lack the courage to rock the boat. Looking after the old pension pot I suppose!

12 years ago

This is a shame. He was the only high profile public figure that would stand up to the Government on their appalling attitude and approach to health and safety – the sorts of things I wish Judith Hackett would say but I guess her hands are tied and she has to play their Daily Wail myth busting game. I hope his successor is as outspoken!