Friday 16 November 2018

Peter Cassells

SHANE ROSS

Peter Cassells is one of those rare creatures, a trade unionist without a beard.

The former General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions is today as committed to the 'partnership' project as he was in his high-profile days as a leader of the brethren. He left full-time service in the cause of the comrades in 2001.

Cassells is today part public sector and part self-employed.

After 12 years in the top job at ICTU, he saw the potential of the partnership industry and was appointed chairman of the National Centre for Partnership, a post that today carries a €67,000 salary.

Although he is credited with creating many of the early pay deals and even the advent of industrial peace in the Eighties, today it is his work in the private sector which takes most of his time.

He runs a highly successful consultancy, specialising in mediation and change.

He recently tackled dinosaurs like An Post, disputes in the ESB and even entered the AIB industrial relations minefield.

Cassells is hardly a trade union poacher turned self-employed gamekeeper, but has carved out a new career straddling both sectors. For three years he was chairman of Forfas. Following his long spell in the trade union movement, he won an honorary degree from UCD in 2002.

Still only 58 last week, he took a flier into politics in 2004 when he stood in the European elections for the Labour Party. He was narrowly defeated by Fine Gael's Avril Doyle on the final count.

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