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TfNSW delegates win AWU Campaign of the Year

December 18, 2023

TfNSW delegates win AWU Campaign of the Year

A wide-ranging campaign to reinvigorate a network of members and delegates at Transport for NSW has been recognised as a joint winner of the Australian Workers’ Union 2023 Campaign of the Year. 

Led by NSW Vice President Cameron Wright and a core AWU contingent comprising 35 local delegates, six senior delegates, nine organisers and the NSW AWU senior leadership group, the campaign included a comprehensive revamp of workplace processes, committee and delegate structures and communications practices. 

“We started by improving communication among delegates and members and we built from there,” Cameron said. 

“This improved communication was a real game-changer, and led to a massive increase in member and delegate engagement—enabling us to achieve more wins. Members are now empowered to raise concerns with the union and management, and have the tools necessary to get results. 

“We’ve elected and trained new delegates, committees and Health and Safety Representatives, and improved processes across the organisation.

“Effectively, members have taken control of committees and processes to ensure they are working for the benefit of workers, rather than management.” 

As a result of the campaign, TfNSW workers also engaged in industrial action for the first time in decades. 

“This industrial action substantially shifted the balance of power and led to a number of award and entitlement issues being resolved in members’ favour,” Cameron said.

“Management now knows that when the AWU talks, they need to listen. 

“We’ve demonstrated how much workers can achieve when we stand shoulder to shoulder to effect change. When we unite as a collective force, we gain the strength to challenge unfair practices, advocate for better pay and conditions, and ensure our voices are heard in the workplace.”

AWU NSW Branch Secretary Tony Callinan agrees. 

“This campaign is a strong demonstration of the power of collective action to drive real change in the workplace and make a difference for our members,” he says.

“It underscores the importance of working together to tackle challenges and improve conditions for all workers. 

“Congratulations to Cameron and to everyone who worked hard to achieve these fantastic results.”

TfNSW Delegates awarded at NSW Delegates Conference

The TfNSW campaign has delivered a number of significant achievements, including:

Award issues resolved

  • Following an AWU survey about unpaid higher duties allowances, dozens of staff have received backpay owing, with one member receiving around $30,000.
  • Trainee rates will now be linked to the apprentice rates in the award, with further staff to receive backpay.
  • TfNSW have amended their fatigue management policy to allow workers to be absent without loss of pay after a callout.
  • An on-call roster has been implemented, significantly increasing the number of members receiving on-call pay.
  • A long-running issue around ‘10 & 20’ travel provisions has been resolved in members’ favour, meaning that around 30 per cent of TfNSW members will be between $10,000 and $20,000 better off.  

Improved safety and workplace culture

  • Prior to the campaign, TfNSW had fewer than 10 Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) across the state. A significant number of HSRs have now been trained, and members of the much-strengthened HSR network are now starting to enrol in refresher training. 
  • In the northern region, entirely new, worker-led committee structures were elected, and a new AWU Work Health and Safety training course was developed.  
  • TfNSW have reached out to the AWU and asked for a collaborative approach to safety, and asked us to help drive a culture change.
  • A number of bullying and harassment issues have been vigorously pursued by the AWU; this has given more members the courage to report such issues in future and has put more pressure on TfNSW to take complaints seriously and investigate. 

Improved processes for Regional Consultation Groups (RCGs) and State-wide Bargaining Units (SBU)

  • Terms of reference for RCGs and SBUs have been developed to resolve issues more quickly and effectively.
  • Stronger relationships with senior management mean more issues can be resolved informally without requiring escalation.

Enhanced member and delegate engagement

  • State-wide delegate meetings via Zoom have increased engagement and interaction among delegates across the state.
  • Regular communication with members and a series of depot/townhall meetings have seen engagement increase significantly, as measured by responses to surveys and meeting attendance.
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