Over three hundred unionists turned out to celebrate and reward achievements made in a tumultuous year at the Inaugural ACTU Annual Awards at the Regent’s Plaza Ballroom.<

Call centres and education unions were the big winners. Melissa Webster of the ASU Central and Southern Queensland Clerical and Administrative Branch was named Organiser of the Year. Melissa implemented a call centre campaign that resulted in the recruitment of over three hundred new members. Leonie Saunders of AAPT in Bendigo and CPSU Communications Section member was awarded the Delegate of the Year award for her success in recruiting over seventy members during a five-month period. Both of these women were rewarded for their commitment and dedication to improving labour standards in the burgeoning call centre industry.

The NTEU and AEU were joint winners of the category Best Communications Strategy for their federal election campaigns. Both unions were acknowledged for using campaign tactics including training, website and community polling to make education a prominent issue in an election year.

Best Workplace Campaign was awarded to the LHMU WA Branch for its Linencare campaign in which members of a hospital laundry service fought for comparable working conditions for casuals and permanent staff.

Graham Bird’s emotional affirmation of the resilience shown by AMIEU members during the G.J. O’Connor meat workers’ dispute earned him Best Media Quote.

The Jennie George Award for contributions to the advancement of women in unions was awarded to the Women’s Standing Committee of the UTLC SA for its administration of the Anna Stewart Memorial Project. When receiving the award Michelle Hogan, UTLC Assistant Secretary said the project exposed women to union activities and allowed them to be more involved in their unions. She urged unions not already participating in the project, which is national and delivered in most states, to do so.

The ACTU also saluted the resolve of Ansett workers in maintaining the issue’s prominence in recent weeks.

“There are no guarantees but thanks to the people you see in front of you it is fairly safe to assume that in the event of job losses through redundancies that members will receive every cent of their full entitlements,” said ACTU Secretary, Greg Combet.

Special guests of the evening included Gough Whitlam, Deputy Leader and Opposition Spokesperson for Employment, Education, Training and Science, Jenny Macklin and Opposition Spokesperson for Industrial Relations, Robert McLelland. Comedian Rod Quantok hosted the evening.