Brendan Barber to retire as TUC General Secretary

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date: 18 April 2012

embargo: For immediate release

The TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, today (Wednesday) informed the TUC Executive Committee of his decision to retire from the TUC around the end of the year. This will enable the election of his successor to take place at the 2012 Congress in September and for an appropriate hand over period.

Brendan Barber said: 'I have decided that this is the right time to make a change in my life. I have been enormously privileged to work at the TUC since 1975, and the end of the year will mark the ten year point since my election as General Secretary.

'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.'

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. He will be duly honoured by affiliates at the Congress.'


- Under the rules of the TUC each affiliated union is entitled to make a nomination for the position of the general secretary. In the event of more than one candidate being nominated an election is held at the annual Congress with each union's vote being cast based on its total membership. The closing date for nominations will be 9 July.

- Brendan Barber became General Secretary-elect in December 2002, and formally took up the position in May 2003 when John Monks left the TUC to become General Secretary of the ETUC.

He first joined the TUC in 1975 and held a number of posts in the TUC Organisation, and Press and Information Departments, before serving as Deputy General Secretary from 1993 until his election as General Secretary.

- Brendan played a lead role in TUC initiatives to promote union organising, oversaw the launch of the TUC's highly successful learning and skills operation, Unionlearn, (through which a quarter of a million people access new learning opportunities each year), and played a crucial role in assisting unions and employers to resolve a number of difficult long running disputes. He led the organisation of the huge half a million strong, March for the Alternative in March 2011, and co-ordinated the negotiations and industrial action over public service pensions on 30 November 2011, which saw two million people in 30 unions support their unions' campaigns for pensions fairness.

- He has served on a number of public bodies including the Council of ACAS (1995-2004), the UK Commission on Employment and Skills and has been a member of the Court of the Bank of England since 2003.

- All TUC press releases can be found at


Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: [email protected]
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: [email protected]
Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: [email protected]

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