ETU celebrates 120 years in Victoria

May this year saw the mighty Victorian Electrical Trades Union turn 120 years old.

Victoria was proudly the national birthing ground of the ETU, and we have built on our history to become the strong and respected national Union fighting for electrical workers throughout the country that we know today.

At the turn of the twentieth century there were just 175 electrical workers in Victoria and many small electric lightworks or powerhouses. Those lightworks were being swallowed up by amalgamation.

The consolidation of those powerhouses brought downsizing and job losses. The number of electrical workers fell to 147.

It caused many of the remaining workers to think about forming a union and they advertised for interest with a poster.

Ninety-one electrical men responded, and they formed the Electrical Employees Association in 1902.

By 1910 the association was calling for safety before profits and demanding for electrical workers to require a license to work with a technology that kills. The association contacted the electrical unions of other states to join together to become a national union.

They achieved that aim, becoming what is now the Electrical Trades Union of Australia.

Today, ETU Victoria has almost 20,000 members working in a range of different industries across the state including power, rail, manufacturing, construction, petrochemicals, food, lifts and many more.


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This article was publised on 30 May 2022.