A year to be proud of

Editorial by TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen

Together we have achieved great things, and the next year will only be better.

I could not start my final message for 2017 without first thanking and applauding you for all your hard work this year. Each and every member has put in the hard-yards, whether that meant fighting the good fight in your own yard, supporting your fellow members as they fought in theirs, or recruiting new members to help strengthen our union and what we can achieve.

Membership has increased again this year, and we proudly and warmly welcome more to the fold. If you are a new member, I would like to extend our warmest wishes and thank you for believing in us as we move into our next chapter. As you march with us, we are sure to reach even greater heights in 2018.

Coming into the new year, Charles McKay will be stepping up as President, with George Clarke sadly resigning from that role. We thank George for his incredible service to the union, having been a member for 49 years. Charles has been a great Vice President and we welcome him in his new role. Replacing him as Vice President will be Mark Trevillian, whose leadership as a delegate at Toll Woolworths Michinbury yard has been unparalleled.

From strength to strength
In our last journal I was proud to share with you the news of our wins at TNT and Toll, progress with CEVA, a victory over NatRoad at the Industrial Relations Commission regarding Chapter 6, and the enormous amount of unpaid wages our Legal Team was able to win back for our members.

One of the greatest battles presently facing our union is ALDI’s continuing refusal to take responsibility for the dangerous problems in its supply chain. Now, following the last National Day of Action on 15 November, ALDI has shown signs they may be starting to crack, sending a damage-control video message to its transport staff which was conveniently released to some media.

Members also took action at Hanson, and won a $2500 pay increase over three years, provision for backpay, and an increase in the meal allowance.

Petty Cash
The collusion between Employment Minister Michaelia Cash and the Australian Federal Police that was exposed in the raid of the Australian Workers’ Union once again shows what a farce the Registered Organisation Commission is. This is more proof of this Government’s union-busting agenda, and despite her office being caught red-handed leaking information to the media, Cash and the Government still refuse to show accountability. The union movement is not one to be reckoned with lightly, we will not forget.

You will never walk alone
The theme of this year’s Delegates’ Conference continues to be true. I’m proud to share the story of TWU drivers at Toll Group at Minchinbury and the work they did to look after one of their own, Phillip Mackey, and his family.

Phil’s four-year-old son Liam was born with an extremely rare genetic condition and has dealt with a whole host of ongoing medical issues. Liam relies on a continuous feeding tube, is unable to sit up, walk or stand unassisted, and relies on full-time 24-hour care from family and some carers.

Phil’s mates in the yard rallied together to help ensure a happy and comfortable life for Liam, and collectively through raffles and a range of other fundraisers, they raised over $51,000 for the family. I can’t imagine a better story than this, which shows the distance that union members are prepared to walk together to help one of their own, and I can’t think of a better way to wrap up my last message for the year.

Richard Olsen
TWU Secretary

Transport Workers' Union NSW