Winners and runners up in the ACTU Annual Union Awards were announced by President Sharan Burrow at the ACTU’s Executive meeting on Tuesday December 2.

Delegate of the Year

Jai Badu (NUW Vic), Heinz Linfox warehouse employee. Jai is the only female employee among 60 male store people. Since becoming a delegate she has signed-up all permanent and casual members of staff into the NUW.

In addition to providing strong leadership, Jai successfully negotiated an EBA, ensured its certification and overcame many obstacles during a difficult management changeover – after which she won back pay for all permanent and casual staff. Her leadership united all employees to win justice more generally for casual workers.

Jai has faced opposition from management and threats to her position, but has always sacrificed her own interests to work towards effective outcomes for union members.

Honourable Mention

Felicity Hogan, (ASU QLD) Yellow Cabs Radio Room; Westpac Call Centre Reps Committee (FSU Launceston); Sally Higgs (ANF Vic) Alcheringa Hostel, Swan Hill.

Organiser of the Year

Sue Jackel, Alison Rahill, Ian Ryall, CPSU Border Protection and International Affairs Division, Australian Quarantine Inspection Service Certified Agreement Campaign 2002-2003.

Sue, Alison and Ian were faced with a daunting task in the lead-up to their certified agreement negotiations. The previous two agreements had been non-union agreements that had set a trend for below average pay rises, and only 36% of staff were union members.

With a recruitment drive, a tough campaign against the threat of outsourcing services and the organisation’s first collective action, these organisers successfully secured:

A union agreement;

  • A 12.5% pay over 2.7 years;
  • A revitalised delegate network of over 100 members;
  • 66% membership density across the country, and
  • Confirmation by the Australian Senate of the positions of AQIS staff within
    the Australian Public Service.
  • Honourable Mention

    Monique Irvine, (HSUA NSW) Westmead Children’s Hospital

    Best Workplace Campaign

    National Tertiary Education Union (national office) National campaign mobilising staff across 38 universities to preserve Australia’s higher education system and fight off the Howard Government’s hardline anti-union agenda.

    Best Communications Strategy

    Transport Workers Union, South Australia/Northern Territory Branch – “Running on Empty” – wage justice for bus drivers. Excellent use of external and internal communications including membership surveys, campaign newsletter, intelligent use of the media, clear consistent messages, radio ads, car stickers and T-shirts. Bus drivers were able to take strike action with a high level of support from the general public, despite the disruption.

    Jennie George Award For The Advancement Of Women In Unions

    Joint Winner: Victorian Local Government Childcare Case, Moreen Lyons Industrial Officer/Organiser, Australian Services Union – wage justice for childcare workers. The ASU argued before the full bench of the IRC that childcare work was undervalued because 98% of employees were female.

    The union won an award increase of $150 per week; it increased membership in the sector by 30% (and growing) and increased the number of active workplace delegates in the sector by 50%.

    Joint Winner: National Tertiary Education Union – for initiating an Activist Training Program focusing on increased participation by women in standing for branch elections, becoming part of bargaining teams and prosecuting maternity and parental leave enterprise bargaining claims.

    Honourable Mention

    Maritime Union of Australia, national office

    Doubling the number of women in the industry and on the union national council/ branch committees; no enterprise agreement signed off without a paid parental leave clause; MUA women represented in EA negotiations, international forums and overseas delegations;

    Best Media Quote

    Trevor Dobbyn Vic. Secretary, Rail Tram and Bus Union. Trevor’s quote is on the subject of the Kennett Government’s privatisation of public transport in Victoria, and the financial crisis that led to National Express to abandon its network of trains and trams late last year:

    “Good riddance to them. They are a pack of miserable Pommy bastards,” he said. ‘They can’t play cricket and they can’t run a public transport system.”

    Special Award for Outstanding Campaign Achievement

    CFMEU (mining div)In recognition of the union’s difficult, 8 year fight against Rio Tinto to protect the jobs and working conditions of coalworkers at the Hunter Valley No 1, Vickery, Blair Athol and Mount Thorley mines.