About Congress

Welcome to the Website of the Northern Ireland Committee
Irish Congress of Trade Unions

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) is the single umbrella organisation for trade unions on the island of Ireland. Congress is the largest civil society organisation on the island. It is the apex body representing 832,000 workers affiliated through 64 trade unions in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The organisation is required, through its mission statement, to strive to achieve economic development, social cohesion and justice by upholding the values of solidarity, fairness and equality.

The Northern Ireland Committee (NIC) of the ICTU is the representative body for 34 trade unions with over 215,000 members across Northern Ireland. In membership terms, it is the largest civil society organisation in Northern Ireland.

Objectives and Role of Congress

The objectives of Congress are set down in our Constitution. In summary, these are concerned with:

  • DEMOCRACY i.e. protecting your right to be a member of a trade union and to the negotiation of your working and living standards.
  • EQUALITY i.e. protecting your right to be treated equally in all aspects of employment opportunity and to create a working environment with no barriers based on colour, ethnic or national origins, politics, race, religion, sex or age.
  • NEGOTIATION and PROMOTION of social and economic policies and programmes reflecting the needs and interests of workers and people who are unemployed in Ireland.
  • PARTICIPATION i.e. establishing your rights to have a say in how your work is done and to influence decisions regarding the future of your company or service organisation.
  • PROMOTION of co-operative relations with trade unions and trade union federations and congresses in other countries.
  • CO-OPERATION with other types of trade union congresses and democratic organisations in supporting these aims and other actions and policies intended to safeguard and strengthen justice, peace and freedom.

These objectives underpin the role of Congress vis-a-vis affiliated trade and union members i.e.

  • Congress supports trade unions in their day to day business of protecting and improving living and working standards for almost 750,000 workers, in particular, their wages, hours of work and working conditions.
  • Congress monitors the implementation of National Agreements on wages, conditions of employment and various economic and social issues.
  • Congress supports and encourages effective organisation of workers in appropriate unions; assisting closer co-operation between unions and unity within the movement; encouraging amalgamation to reduce the number of unions; providing for the transfer of members from one union to another and generally helping to strengthen trade union organisation and co-operation between unions.
  • Congress provides assistance to affiliated organisations, by way of research, information, educational facilities, legal advice and general central guidance.
  • Congress provides an Appeals Board to facilitate groups of members who may have a complaint against their own union.