Who We Are
Fórsa is Ireland’s newest trade union with over 80,000 members.
The union was formed on 2nd January 2018 after the members of IMPACT, the Civil, Public and Services Union (CPSU), and the Public Service Executive Union (PSEU) voted overwhelmingly to amalgamate the three organisations.
Fórsa represents members in the public service, as well as the commercial sector, state agencies, some private companies and in the community and voluntary sector.
Fórsa is the second largest union on the island of Ireland and by far the largest trade union voice in the Irish civil and public service.
Fórsa is the Gaelic word meaning a ‘force’ or body of people, as well as meaning ‘leverage’.
Fórsa boasts a rich legacy through each of its founding unions.
Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU)
The CPSU was formed on 7th February 1922 when the Civil Service Clerical Association (CSCA) hived off from the UK-based organisation of the same name, following the formation of the Irish Free State.
The CSCA had its origins in 1893 with the formation of the Assistant Clerks Association. The new Irish union started life with a grant of £50 from their former British colleagues. In 1973 the name was changed to the Civil and Public Services Staff Association (CPSSA) to reflect the wider membership in the public service and semi-state companies.
In 1983 it became the Civil and Public Services Staff Union (CPSSU) until 1989 when the name changed to the Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU). A final, and very subtle, change was made to the title when the union became the Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU) following the privatisation of Telecom Éireann in 1999.
Noted for its focus on branch and workplace representative activity the CPSU has always seen itself as being led from the bottom up. The union has always been associated with campaigning against low pay with notable successes over the years. The union placed a significant emphasis on using the courts, when appropriate, in its battles for equal pay for women in the civil and public service.
Irish Municipal Public and Civil Trade Union (IMPACT)
IMPACT was formed in 1991 through the merger of the LGPSU (Local Government and Public Services Union), UPTCS (Union of Professional and Technical Civil Servants). Very shortly they were joined by the Irish Municipal Employees Trade Union, still affectionately known as ‘The Muno’, and formed in 1883 as the United Corporation Workmen of Dublin Trade Union.
IMPACT represented close to 24,000 members when it was formed. All three organisations had a strong tradition of protecting and advancing the interests of working people, their families and their communities.
In the years that followed its creation, other unions and associations, including IALPA (the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association) and the Federated Union of Government Employees (FGE), joined forces. IMPACT quickly became one of the country’s fastest growing and most influential trade unions.
By 2017, the union represented almost 60,000 members working in the public service, civil service, semi-state sector, community and voluntary organisations, and some private companies.
At the time of IMPACT’s formation, mass unemployment was still a major problem in the country. As the economy flourished, the union secured significant improvements in pay and working conditions.
When the economic crisis hit, in 2008, IMPACT successfully negotiated agreements in the public, private and commercial sectors that sought to protect jobs and limit the negative effects of the economic collapse on services, pay and pensions.
Throughout its history, IMPACT advocated and campaigned for a more equal Ireland, for global solidarity and development, and for innovation, excellence and equity in the delivery of public services. Along the way, IMPACT has always enjoyed working with the wider trade union movement to achieve these aims.
Public Service Executive Union (PSEU)
The Public Service Executive Union (PSEU) was established in 1890 and represented executive grades in the Civil Service and the wider public sector.
Civil Servants oversaw the establishment of our state and were there when power transferred hands in 1932. PSEU members served whoever was elected without fear our favour.
The union also had a legacy of campaigning for equal pay and equal rights, campaigning for a voice for civil and public servants, while maintaining a close relationship with individual representatives and members.
These are the legacies that have now combined to create the new union. Fórsa now carries that legacy forward, built on the strong and deep foundations of its founder unions and the combined strength of its 80,000 members.