Emotions run high as Peter Simpson (Simmo) steps down over serious health issues
Yesterday Peter Ong officially took the reins of the powerful Electrical Trades Union QLD NT branch from firebrand Secretary Peter Simpson.
In taking on the position Ong becomes just the seventh State Secretary in the union’s illustrious 103-year history.
Simpson’s decision to stand down was not made lightly but the continuing battle with cancer left him with the view that the interests of the Union would be better served with a fully endorsed State/Divisional Secretary. (Peter Ong has been acting in the position since Simpson’s diagnosis last January)
Ong was clearly emotional as he read Simpson’s resignation letter and a somber resolution accepting it, to the Union’s Council and Executive. A second motion endorsing Ong, to take over the position of State Secretary in the ETU Division of the ETUQ and the Divisional Branch Secretary for the CEPU, Electrical Division, Qld & NT Branch. was also passed unanimously.
As the newly endorsed Secretary, Ong paid tribute to the work Simpson had done to hold governments and corporations of all persuasions to account when they attacked the rights and dignity of working people and their communities.
“His are big shoes to fill but I’m committed to continuing the important work he did through the many campaigns we have taken on, we had massive wins through his leadership including the relentless Not4Sale campaign. There is no shortage of issues that are affecting our members and communities and we will be there fighting from the front,” Ong said.
State President Chris McGaw also paid tribute to Simpson’s commitment to the union and its members. “It’s a mark of the man that he made this decision in the best interests of the members, and that even while battling the scourge of cancer, their best interests remained front of mind” McGaw said.
McGaw reflected the view of those assembled that it was a sad day for the Union but he looked forward to working with the new Secretary to further the interests of working people so badly let down by the current Federal Government and the failing Fair Work system. “We need to get rid of this incompetent Federal Government and we need to change the rules to give working people their rights back” he said.