The trade union movement is mourning the passing of Simon Crean 74, who died suddenly whilst in Europe on Sunday.
Simon was President of the ACTU from 1985 to 1990, went on to be elected to Federal Parliament and to become the leader of the Labor Party between 2001 and 2003.
He began working for the trade union movement as a young man and in 1979 became the General Secretary of the Storeman and Packers Union (now the United Workers Union) representing workers in the warehouses and manufacturing industries until 1985. Over this time the Simon and the Storeman and Packers Union played a key role in the establishment of Australia’s Superannuation system.
In 1981 he became a Vice President of the ACTU and was elected President in 1985.
While ACTU President he served alongside Bill Kelty as ACTU Secretary and played a key role in negotiating the Prices and Income Accord. Substantial gains for workers over this time included the establishment of universal superannuation, new welfare payments, improved skill and employment pathways and improved childcare and health and safety standards. He represented Australian unions on the Governing body of the International Labor Organisation from 1986 to 1990.
Quote attributed to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:
Simon was a respected and loved leader of the Australian Union movement and played a significant role in multiple Ministries in four Labor Governments.
He was a great believer in and fighter for fairness and justice for working people in Australia and around the world.
He was a leader of conviction and courage and was generous and supportive to young unionists and all those who sought his support and advice.
Simon was a man of courage and principal, he strongly opposed the Iraq war whilst Labor leader
His legacy has made a lasting impact on the wages, entitlements, safety and retirement dignity of working people.
His loss will be keenly and deeply felt across our movement and we send out sincere condolences to his wife Carole and his whole family.
Vale Simon Crean a great union and labor leader.”