Welcome from the General Secretary

David Begg - General SecretaryI would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the Congress website. It is likely that this site will be the your first contact with Congress, if not with the Irish trade movement as a whole. I hope that experience proves to be a pleasant one and, indeed, one which provides a fuller insight into the very broad range of work and activities carried out under the auspices of Congress.

It is my strong belief that - despite the often frenzied claims to the contrary - trade unions are not just hugely relevant today but are a vital component of any society that dares to aspire to greater justice and equality. Without the power and vision of organised labour, those aspirations cannot be realised. Indeed, it is in organised labour that you will find the largest, the strongest and most able antidote to the forces of the unfettered free market and unrestrained capital.

Even a casual glance backwards at history will inform of the many gains and advances that have been won for all in society, by trade unions - safer working conditions, paid holidays, maternity leave, the minimum wage, paid overtime, to name but a few. The list is virtually endless and many of the most basic rights that people now take for granted have been hard won over many years. Of course the greatest danger is that we begin to do precisely that - take them for granted.

The single most effective way to protect established rights and break new ground in pursuit of greater equality for all in society, is through the trade union movement.

A single voice can be drowned out or dismissed. That become a little more difficult when over 778,000 people speak out as one.


David Begg