Education International
Education International

In memoriam: Heribert Maier

published 8 November 2007 updated 8 November 2007

Education International activists join fellow trade unionists across many countries in mourning the loss of Heribert Maier, one of the outstanding international trade union leaders of his generation. Heribert was also a member of EI’s Committee of Experts on Membership since 1996.

Maier suffered a cerebral haemorrhage in late October, and died on 6 November in Graz, Austria, the town of his birth.

After completing his academic studies, Maier joined the Austrian Trade Union Centre, the OGB, in 1955. Three years later, he joined the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) in Brussels, where he rose to the position of Assistant General Secretary. In 1973 he became General Secretary of the International Federation of Commercial, Clerical, Professional and Technical Employees (FIET), leading the International with great distinction until his departure in 1989 to become Deputy Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) until his retirement in 1996.

Heribert had a significant impact on the work of ILO. From 1977 to 1989, he was an active participant in the ILO Conference as delegate for Austria. In 1987, he was elected Vice President of the ILO Conference. He was elected to the ILO Governing Body in 1976. In 1982 he became the Workers' Group Spokesperson to the Committee on Freedom of Association.

In 1996, he was recognized by the Austrian Government when he received the Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver with Star for his services to the nation.

On his retirement from the ILO until this year, he served on the Education International (EI) Committee of Experts on Membership.

He brought energy, originality and a strong intellect to his union work. A career spanning 40 years was wrapped in the rich personality of a man who enjoyed people and life. He will be sorely missed.