December 19, 2022

President's Page: Keeping up the Fight

As another year comes to a close, the TWU has kept the hard fight going for transport workers. I am proud to say that the power of the TWU in action continues to build as we enter into 2023. With their own profit in mind the transport industry bosses at the top of the supply chain, like those at the behemoth Qantas, will always attack the rates, conditions and safety of workers, providing little or no job security and finding ways to outsource their work.  

Qantas has been prosecuted for their action for discriminatory conduct and prohibited behaviour against a TWU member, a health and safety representative, who raised concerns about cleaning aircraft inbound from China early in the Covid-19 pandemic. Theo Seremetidis had been a Qantas employee since 2014 in the position of ground crew fleet presentation at Sydney International Airport. A true mate to his colleagues, he was working well within his rights as a HSR in his workplace when he asked Qantas about Covid-19 measures, and for evidence on consultation and compliance with Work Health and Safety regarding Covid-19, he was brushed off. He was looking out for his workmates. The fleet presentation workers had a right to question the measures in place for their safety.   

A 10-day hearing has been held in the District Court against Qantas and Theo stood up fighting for what is right. The court case, the first of its kind in Australia, assessed the conduct of Qantas. The TWU believe they did not provide proper workplace health and safety processes for its staff.

I’m proud that TWU HSRs and Delegates in the workplace are provided with all the training, information and guidance they need to have when the management needs reminding to do the right thing by their workers. Management’s bottom line is the dollar, which in many cases cuts in on your rates and safety. Our industry training provided at the TWU for you in your workplace helps you maintain the fight against the injustices that occur. 

The TWU has delegates all across Australia in various industries and the numbers keep on growing. I look back at my journey when I started out as a new member with the union. I knew I had to be a part of this community that is a lot bigger than just myself. It is about unity and coming together with your fellow workers and standing up for workers’ rights. The young delegates I see today are bright, passionate, proud, like-minded leaders who are justice driven and want to make a real difference in their workplace. I wish them good luck on their journey ahead as they continue to serve our union, and like them, I look forward to continuing to serve as the TWU NSW President for the next four years. 

May this festive season be bright for you and your family as we look forward to the New Year together. 

Tony Matthews,
TWU President


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