TWU election rigging claimed

Issue 

By Peter Boyle

MELBOURNE — Outgoing officials of the Victorian branch of the Transport Workers Union, along with office staff and organisers, ended a week-long occupation of the union's offices on September 4. The dispute erupted after the incoming right-wing leadership froze the accounts of several outgoing officials and union employees to block their redundancy and other pay entitlements. The occupation ended after these payments were guaranteed.

Outgoing left-wing TWU state secretary Chris Keily told Green Left Weekly that he believed there were irregularities in the recently completed elections in the branch. He knew of 856 members who had reported not receiving ballot papers. While the left lost the leadership of the state branch, it won the two federal leadership positions. Keily intends to lodge a challenge to the result.

On September 1 Keily rejected an offer in the industrial court to honour his pay entitlements but not those of other employees.

Other outgoing organisers said they expected to be black-banned in the industry. Already, according to former organiser Denis Evans, nine TWU shop stewards have been sacked from their jobs with various transport companies. This was the sort of thing that happened when the right wing last held the leadership of the TWU, he said.

During the election campaign, he added, his car tyres had been slashed six times, his 13-year-old son had been threatened, and two bricks had been thrown through windows in his home. The wives of several outgoing officials had received threatening phone calls.

The right-wing leadership of the National Union of Workers is believed to have contributed to a $150,000 campaign by the TWU right. The Victorian branch last year voted against amalgamation with the NUW.

UPCOMING EVENT

IN CONVERSATION WITH BRUCE PASCOE: The Climate Emergency & Indigenous Land Practice

SATURDAY 5 DECEMBER ♦ 4PM ACT, NSW, TAS & VIC ♦ 3:30PM SA ♦ 3PM Qld ♦ 2:30PM NT ♦ 1PM WA

Zoom panel featuring Bunurong man Bruce Pascoe, award-winning Australian writer and editor, author of Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident?

Also featuring agroecologist Alan Broughton, filmmaker & Rural Fire Service volunteer Robynne Murphy and City of Moreland councillor Sue Bolton.

For more information call (02) 8070 9341 or 0403 517 266. Hosted by Green Left.