Union to Celebrate 125 Years of Work

Release date: 2/08/2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: The TWU celebrates a significant milestone, its 125th anniversary.

Big Rigs, by Wayne Forno, TWU NSW State Secretary, 2 August 2013

I am delighted to announce that this year, this great union of ours celebrates its 125th anniversary.
We share a rich history marked by significant changes in technology that have impacted substantially on methods of transport and therefore on our lives and the way we conduct business in this country and globally.
We also share a rich legacy steeped in fearless challenges and hard-won battles and victories from which we have secured for workers those fundamental rights to a decent wage and a way of life that are the envy of workers the world over.
The Transport Workers' Union of NSW was born in 1888, though at this time it was known as the Sydney Trolley and Draymen's Union. In 1925, members of various transport unions - such as the Trolley and Draymen's Union, the Motor Transport and Chauffeurs' Association and the Federated Carters and Drivers' Industrial Union, to name a few, planned to create a new union that could represent everyone working either in the transport of people or goods.
The result was the Amalgamated Road Transport Workers Union, which became federally registered in 1928. It wasn't until 1938 that our union became officially known as the Transport Workers' Union.
By the1960s, the TWU was securing significant wage increases for drivers as the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission recognised the fluid nature of drivers' work and the increased skill required of drivers.
By the 1970s, owner-drivers were joining the TWU in large numbers as they began to realise we were the only serious industrial force that could stand up to the transport conglomerates. These giants such as Brambles, Mayne Nickless and TNT dominated the industry.
When John Howard came into government in 1996, the TWU was forced into confronting a number of challenges aimed clearly at destabilising the union movement. However, in spite of these challenges, our union continued to grow during the period of the Howard government.
Since the Howard years, we have made significant gains such as the shelving of the draconian WorkChoices legislation and, more recently, the passing of the Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012, which on a national level finally recognises the link between methods of payment on the one hand and safety on the other.
This union has had a very proud history over its 125 years. As we celebrate our 125th anniversary, we pay tribute to those who have led us to this point and remember that it is our duty to continue this great legacy.
A union is, after all, nothing more than its members, gathered together for a common cause.

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