Deputy General Secretary - Private Sector: Gerry McCormack

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“It’s impossible to truly have democracy, equal rights or equality without strong independent trade unions that fight for workers in the workplace and in society generally.”

Gerry was brought into union activity as a teenager at the beginning of his 15 years working as a hard-rock miner in Navan Mines, county Meath. During this period he served as a senior shop steward leading union members through several disputes and major restructuring of the company, as Navan Mines underwent several changes of ownership.

His union work at the mine saw him elected to the Meath Branch of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU), and after its merger with the Federated Worker’s Union of Ireland, of SIPTU. He served in a number of roles within this Branch, including as President.

Gerry became a full-time SIPTU official in 1995. Initially working as an Assistant Secretary in the Cavan Branch he was then appointed Branch Secretary of the Monaghan 20/21 Branch. He transferred back to the Cavan Branch for a number of years before his appointment in 2005 as SIPTU National Industrial Secretary for the Private Sector. In this role he had responsibility for representing and organising SIPTU members in all large workplaces where the members of more than one Branch were present. These included the major retailers such as Tesco and Dunnes Stores as well as other major companies such as Aer Lingus.

With the onset of the economic crisis in 2007, Gerry took a leading role in fighting to protect workers’ terms and conditions in some of the worst hit sectors of the economy include, retail and distribution.

During the major restructuring of the union, Gerry was appointed as Manufacturing Division Organiser with responsibility for organising and representing tens of thousands of workers in workplaces throughout the country. In this role, he has been pro-active in launching significant campaigns and policy initiatives which have been used as blueprints for union-wide schemes. These include the Manufacturing Division Health and Safety Representatives’ Network, in conjunction with the Services Division, the Migrant and International Workers Network and the Supporting Quality consumer campaign.

Since the beginning of the economic recovery, Gerry has successfully formulated and coordinated a pay campaign throughout companies in his Division that has seen workers secure, on average, annual increases of between 2.5% and 3.5%. Under his stewardship the Division has also led the way in utilising the Industrial Relations Amendment Act (2015) to win union recognition for workers, including in the US Multi-National Sector.

In recent months his focus has been on best preparing members and workplaces in the manufacturing sector for the impact of Brexit.

Born in Kilskyre, County Meath, Gerry lives in county Cavan with his family. He is a very active supporter of the Meath GAA teams.


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