Sharan Burrow is the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)b and a former President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) (2000–2010). She is the first woman to become General Secretary of the ITUC since its foundation in 2006, and was the second woman to become President of the ACTU.
Burrow was elected President of the ACTU in May 2000. The most significant public event of her term of office was the ACTU's 'Your Rights at Work' campaign against the Howard Government's 'WorkChoices' industrial relations legislation in the lead up to the 2007 Australian federal election. At the election, the Howard government was defeated, and the incoming Rudd Government repealed the WorkChoices legislation and replaced it with the Fair Work Act 2009, which was praised by the ACTU for its restoration and protection of many workers' rights (such as the right to organise and negotiate collectively) which has been removed or jeopardised by the earlier legislation.
The ACTU President Sharan Burrow is a significant figure at ILO (International Labour Organization).
At the time of her presidency with ACTU, a PPL (Paid Parental Leave) policy program was successfully passed in Australia, for which she said; this would give dignity and respect to women workers.
Burrow continued as President of the ACTU until the end of June 2010 when she demitted office and was elected General Secretary (i.e. leader) of the International Trade Union Confederation.
She graduated in teaching with the University of New South Wales in 1976 and became a teacher in the early 1980s, which allowed her to become involved in the New South Wales Teachers Federation. She later became President of the Bathurst Trades and Labor Council. Before becoming President of the ACTU she was also President of the Australian Education Union (AEU) in 1992.
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