13 July 2012 – The ITF has welcomed the election of Frances O’Grady as the next general secretary of the UK Trades Union Congress (TUC). O’Grady, who is the current TUC deputy general secretary, will be the first woman to head the organisation when she takes over from Brendan Barber who is set to retire at the end of the year. She was the only candidate nominated by unions and has called her appointment ‘a great honour’.
O’Grady began working for the TUC in 1994 as campaigns officer, running campaigns against low pay and to gain equal rights for part-timers. In 1997 she launched the TUC organising academy designed to attract blood and bring the trade union movement up to date. She took over the role of deputy general secretary in 2003.
Diana Holland, chair of the ITF’s women’s committee, said: “Frances has a special understanding of transport issues, having worked previously for the Transport and General Workers’ Union, and she currently leads on transport as TUC deputy general secretary, working closely with Unite, National Union of Rail, the Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), the Associated Society of Locomotive Steam Enginemen and Firemen (ASLEF) and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA).
She added: “I have known (Frances) for many years, campaigned with her, organised with her, and seen first hand how her involvement has made a difference to the trade union movement. Frances has never just talked about making things happen. She has made things happen.”
ITF women’s coordinator Alison McGarry added: “I worked with Frances in developing inspirational women union organisors through the TUC organising academy. As the first TUC woman general secretary, Frances will now further inspire women transport workers across the globe to join the ITF family as union activists and leaders. The ITF looks forward to working with Frances.”