Previous NEU Lectures have been given Baroness May Blood, Prof. Bob Fryer, Ken Cunningham, Baroness Susan Greenfield, Duchess Sacha Abercorn, Prof Carmel Gallagher amongst others.

Esther will discuss the ETUC ‘People’s Recovery’ which aims to reduce inequalities and bring fair pay: wage increases for all, stronger collective bargaining (particularly national and sectoral), and better pay for essential workers and jobs, often done by women, that are undervalued and low-waged. Public money should not support the exploitation of working people, it should not help companies that refuse to negotiate fair wages with unions or refuse to discuss their decisions with workers’ representatives.

A People’s Recovery must also involve partnership – unions and employers in shaping European and national recovery plans, and ensuring a socially just transition to a carbon-neutral economy that means recovery for our planet, as well as people’s ability to earn a living.

Esther Lynch was elected ETUC Deputy General Secretary at the Vienna Congress in May 2019, after four years as Confederal Secretary. She has extensive trade union experience at Irish, European and international levels, starting with her election as a shop steward in the 1980s.

Esther Lynch 1

She has extensive trade union and legal experience at an Irish, European and International level and has played a key role in developing trade union strategies in Ireland and internationally. Her trade union experience began when she was elected as a shop steward in the 1980s.

As ETUC Confederal Secretary from 2015 to 2019, Esther had a wide-ranging portfolio with responsibility for collective bargaining and wage policy, public procurement, fundamental and trade union rights, labour law, and health and safety.

She led ETUC interventions on the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Commission’s Undeclared Work Platform and the ILO Future of Work Initiative.

Esther managed the work of three ETUC Committees along with the Legal Strategy Group, NETLEX the ETUC Labour Law Expert Group. She spearheaded a major campaign for a pay rise in Europe. She oversaw the political work of the ETUI in respect of Health and Safety and she led a successful campaign on workplace cancers that led to a Covenant between Business Europe, the Commission and the ETUC.

She ran a successful EU-wide online campaign ‘Social Rights First’ that mobilised support for the European Pillar of Social Rights, led ETUC lobbying actions aimed at improving workers' rights in legislative initiatives such as the Transparent and Predicable Working Conditions Directive and the Whistleblowing Directive, as well as spearheading the ETUC’s ‘Europe Needs a Pay Rise’ campaign, helping secure the EU’s adoption of legally binding occupational exposure limits to protect workers from exposure to carcinogens, as well as a social partners’ agreement on reprotoxins.

Before coming to the ETUC, she was the Legislation and Social Affairs Officer with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), where she took part in negotiations on Ireland’s National Social Partner Agreements.

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