Today the Transport Workers’ Union of NSW has learned of the death of the former TWU NSW State Secretary, Steve Hutchins.
Steve had a full understanding of the life of a transport worker, starting out as a forklift driver before becoming a garbo through the 1970s. He came into the TWU as an official, eventually working his way up to serve as the State Secretary between 1993 and 1998.
As noted in TWU History, Steve’s time at the wheel of the Union in NSW was during the period of so-called ‘industrial reform’ that was being pushed by the Liberal NSW Premier Nick Greiner. In Steve’s own words while he was Sydney Sub-Branch Secretary, Greiner’s industrial laws would “put workers’ rights back to the pre-1900s”. The TWU continues Steve’s fight to this day.
Steve never sat back when it came to supporting transport workers. The Reserve Bank, the ACTU and the Federal Government under Paul Keating were among many that he took on in campaigning to ensure the members were receiving fair pay and conditions.
He led the successful campaign in the ‘90s to see a 15% increase in truck driver wages, even taking on trucking magnate Lindsay Fox. Fox once told Steve that “we’ll tell you what you are going to earn”, to which Steve replied, “well see about that”. After action organised by Steve involving the brewery carters, Fox conceded the TWU claim.
Steve gave 18 years of his life to the TWU for the benefit of members and was a true giant of the union movement. Following his time as NSW State Secretary, Steve became the Federal President of the TWU and then went on to become a Senator in Canberra. He also served as President of the Australian Labor Party.
Today the NSW TWU honours one of our own, and on behalf of all members and officials we offer our condolences to those Steve leaves behind. We share our thanks for the work Steve Hutchins completed that truly kept the union flag flying high.
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