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Focus on safety nets joint NSW Delegate of the Year Award for Ray Webb

February 22, 2024

Ensuring his colleagues stay safe at work and get home safely to their families at the end of the day is the most important part of the job for Transport for NSW Team Leader Ray Webb.

Ray was recently named a joint winner of the Australian Workers Union Delegate of the Year Award, alongside fellow TfNSW Team Leader Graham Campbell.

Ray has been a union member his entire working life. His family was involved in the timber industry, and he left school at the age of 16 to work full time in the trade, initially as a member of the Timber Workers Union.

Over the course of his career, he has also been a member of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers Union, the Liquor Trades Union and the Fire Brigade Employees Union.

He joined the AWU the day he started work at TfNSW, and was quickly promoted to Team Leader in the Maintenance division, where he oversees jobs such as vegetation control, road maintenance and incident response.

AWU organiser Steve Carter is a real asset to the union and his workplace.

“Ray has been a loyal, dedicated member and delegate going on 40 years,” he says.

“He is the most passionate and committed delegate I have worked with in the 11 years I have been organising—a selfless, generous individual who is always available to provide members with support, education and advice.

“He also has an abundance of historical knowledge that both our Organiser Cameron Wright and myself benefit from.”

Ray with fellow winner Graham Campbell, National Secretary Paul Farrow, NSW Branch Secretary Tony Callinan, and former Deputy Prime Minister and National Labor Party President Wayne Swan

Helping his colleagues, offering them high-quality advice and seeing them advance in their careers as a result, is something that Ray names as a highlight of his role as a delegate.

But workplace safety is his overriding passion.

“It’s my job not only to get the best conditions for workers in terms of remuneration and benefits, but also to make sure that everyone is aware of the importance of safety at work and knows how to stay safe,” he says.

“My biggest fear on the job is that someone will get hurt or killed.”

He talks from experience, as someone who has been injured on the job himself and, tragically, lost colleagues to workplace accidents.

Joining a union is one of the best things employees can do to ensure workplace safety and ensure such accidents are vanishingly rare, Ray says.

“Unions are there for your protection. Being a union member enhances your employment conditions through teamwork and collective action—in terms of safety, remuneration, benefits, conditions of employment and negotiations for awards, a union is the best protection any worker can have.”

AWU NSW Branch Secretary Tony Callinan says without the hard work and dedication of delegates like Ray, the AWU never would have seen such a huge turnaround in conditions at TfNSW – a fight which earned the team Campaign of the Year in 2023.

“Ray has gone through so much over his 40 years at TfNSW, but he has never given up his fight for workplace safety and building union power.

“Even when it’s taken a personal toll, he has always put himself out there and looked out for his fellow AWU members. His commitment to the Union and to the wellbeing of his workmates is second to none. Congratulations, Ray!”

Ray also encourages existing members to step up and become delegates, and to keep up the fight for fair wages and conditions, and safer workplaces.

“There’s strength in numbers. There’s also strength in information—if you know your rights you will be able to ensure that you are treated fairly and with respect on the job.

“The delegate structure is a strong tool. We get results.”


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