‘Fighting for the Clerical Grades’ A History of the Civil, Public and Services Union 1922-2017 (CPSU)


Published by the Institute of Public Administration with Fórsa, this book offers a detailed analysis of the personalities, issues, campaigns and strategies of the Civil, Public and Services Union in its fight to organise and mobilise the lowest grades in the civil service.

From the rootstock of clerical organisation in the late nineteenth century civil service, it details the growth of the Civil, Public and Services Union despite the hostility of the newly independent state, to the concept of negotiation with its civil servants, and its refusal to agree an acceptable conciliation and arbitration scheme.

It is a compelling history of the lowest and overwhelmingly female civil service grades confronting Government, and oftentimes the wider labour movement, in its fight for equality, respect, decent working conditions, and progressive career opportunities. It charts the often contrarian role of the CPSU, one of the earliest civil service unions to join the Irish Trade Union Congress, in shaping the trade union movement within the public service, and in positioning the issue of gender equality as central to that movement.

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