The merger of Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees (AFULE) State Union and the ETUQ State Union has been overwhelmingly supported by AFULE Members.
A ballot of AFULE Members closed on March 13. ETU Members were not required to vote following a ruling of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC).
AFULE State Secretary Greg Smith told Members that once the amalgamation was ratified, AFULE Members would become a Member of the AFULE division of the ETUQ.
“Just some of the added advantages the amalgamation brings to you is that AFULE delegates and members will have access to ETU offices especially in Regional areas. The AFULE logo will also be visible on ETU offices. This will give the AFULE a larger footprint in regional areas. Currently ETU members are eligible for a discount through R&T Health Fund. AFULE members will be able to access the discount,” he told AFULE Members.
“It’s an exciting time to build a strong future to combat this federal conservative Government and future anti-worker Governments as well as protect the rights and conditions of Traincrew throughout Queensland,” he said.
I am sure there are many questions from ETU Members about how this will impact our operations on the electrical side of things.
The truth is – it is business as usual for the ETU, and for the AFULE. The arrangement is similar to the CEPU National Union, where the Communications, Plumbing and Electrical divisions operate autonomously. On occasions, regional ETU officials will assist AFULE Members on industrial issues but only after a call from the AFULE office.
The two Unions will continue to operate as separate entities, but the merger means we will work closer together on common issues.
The only people who seem to be concerned about this merger are the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, who tried to influence the votes of AFULE Members, after not lodging any objections during the QIRC merger submission.
But those most concerned by the merger appear to be the bosses in the rail industry, who recognise the threat posed by the combined strength of AFULE and ETU Members.