Born in Southport, Lancashire, Barber was educated at St Mary's College, Sefton (then a direct grant grammar school). Between school and university, he spent a year with VSO teaching in the Volta Region of Ghana. At City University London, he earned a BA Hons in Social Sciences in 1974, then spent the next year as the President of the Students' Union.
In 1975 started working at the TUC as a policy officer. In 1979 he became the head of the TUC's Press and Information Department. In 1987 he became head of the Organisation and Industrial Relations Department and in 1993 he became Deputy General Secretary.
He became General Secretary of the TUC in June 2003. On 18 April 2012, he announced his retirement, enabling a successor to be elected in September at Trades Union Congress 2012. Frances O'Grady was elected his successor.
- "Biographical details: Brendan Barber". Trades Union Congress. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- "Brendan Barber to retire as TUC General Secretary". Trades Union Congress. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- Claire Bolderson (7 September 2012). "Profile: Frances O'Grady, the new TUC general secretary". BBC. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- The London Gazette: . 15 June 2013.
- "Birthday Honours: Adele joins Blackadder stars on list". BBC. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- Guardian profile September 2003
- Bank of England Court of Directors
- "Christmas spending 'will be tough'" 16 November 2011, Budget Planning News
|Deputy General Secretary of the TUC
|General Secretary of the TUC
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