May 15, 2023


Transport workers, union leaders and politicians are gathering in Sydney this week for the annual TWU National Council, where the focus will be on urging Federal Parliament to pass reform to set enforceable standards in transport, and on the rebuild required to get aviation back up to safe, quality service standards.

On Tuesday, NSW Premier Chris Minns will welcome councillors to Sydney.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine alongside National President and NSW/Queensland Secretary Richard Olsen will lead the four-day event, where TWU’s rank and file council along with elected leadership will make key decisions about plans to achieve and fully utilise lifesaving transport reform to lift standards in Australia’s deadliest industry.

Rebuilding the decimated aviation industry will be a key focus of the council which National Secretary Michael Kaine will address in his keynote speech on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, councillors will march in a Sydney CBD vigil to remember fallen transport workers killed in horrific truck crashes.

On Wednesday morning, Cleanaway waste workers and TWU leadership will hold a press conference at 8am outside Sydney Town Hall as part of 24-hour strikes in City of Sydney and across Victoria.

A keynote address from NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey will take place on Thursday along with NSW Industrial Relations Minister Sophie Cotsis, followed by a press conference on gig worker protections in NSW.

Councillors will also discuss actioning the union’s commitment to support the ‘YES’ campaign for a Voice to Parliament.

Other attendees include TWU members and delegates, Employment Minister Tony Burke, Minister for Environment and Water and Sydney MP Tanya Plibersek, Assistant Minister for Transport Senator Carol Brown, Senator Tony Sheldon, Senator Glenn Sterle, ACTU Secretary Sally McManus, President Michele O’Neil, and Workers’ Capital Manager Joseph Mitchell, ARTIO Secretary Peter Anderson, ACFS CEO Arthur Tzaneros, NatRoad CEO Warren Clark, NRFA Vice President Glynn Castanelli, and representatives from the International Transport workers Federation and Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said this year’s TWU National Council comes at a significant time for transport workers following a Federal Government commitment to transport reform, and one week after High Court hearings as Qantas attempts to overturn two Federal Court rulings that it illegally sacked 1700 aviation workers.

“Thousands of TWU members have committed to rolling actions to hold the likes of Aldi and Amazon to account and urge Federal Parliament to pass lifesaving transport reform. One of many upcoming actions will take place tomorrow as part of our annual council to remember the heroic transport workers we’ve lost over recent years as the deadly pressures in the industry worsened under the Coalition.

“Since Council last met, we’ve made significant gains in our push to lift standards in transport, including ground-breaking charters with the three largest transport gig economy companies in Australia. We have also seen the devastation the Amazon Effect continues to reap on this essential industry, with the collapse of Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics, Rivet Mining Services, MilkRun and around 200 other transport companies in FY22.

“Already this year, we’ve lost 87 people in truck crashes including children and infants as young as three months old. We have suffered the heartbreaking loss of 26 transport workers. In their honour, we will not relent until transport reform is established and in full working order to lift transport out of this lethal crisis.

“Recently, the travelling public has suffered the consequences of Qantas management’s savage, irresponsible and illegal mass sacking event. Chaos has ravaged our airports and aviation is on its knees. The TWU’s governing body will put plans in place over the coming week to repair and rebuild the devastated industry.

“A wave of change is coming for aviation. With the departure of a brutal Qantas CEO, and an aviation workforce that has shown through recent enterprise bargaining wins that it is willing to stand up for fairer, safer and more sustainable pay and conditions, there is hope. To truly rebalance the industry, we need a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to establish and enforce good quality jobs over executive pay packets.”

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