Mr Johnston comes directly from Community Union in the UK, where he was industrial director since November 2013. He was previously executive director of Industriall global union from June 2009, working in Geneva, Switzerland for three years then Sydney, Australia for 16 months.
Mr Johnston will join the ITF very shortly and will initially work alongside assistant general secretary Stuart Howard, who will be retiring in January 2017.
ITF general secretary Steve Cotton said: “I am extremely pleased to welcome Rob to the ITF family. Rob has been a trade unionist for the majority of his working life. He has worked closely with the ITF during that time and shares our values. He brings with him strong knowledge of many of our member unions and comprehensive international trade union experience.”
Rob Johnston commented that he was honoured and proud to join the ITF and be part of its future journey to deliver real change to workers through building strong unions. He added that he had seen the best that unions could offer, when workers with nothing but hope had come together and fought for a better life.
Mr Johnston has been a trade union activist since the age of 17. He spent 14 years as a senior union representative, prior to joining Amicus (now Unite the Union) in 2001 as research and policy officer. Three years later he was appointed director, steel, shipbuilding and occupational health and safety at the International Metalworkers Federation in Geneva.