Member Spotlight: Paul Bradley

Paul Bradley is a qualified electrician and a 40 plus year veteran of the construction industry in South Australia.

Paul joined South Australian Branch of the ETU, now the CEPU SA Branch, in 1985.

While completing his apprenticeship, Paul got first-hand experience of how powerful workers can be when they are all members of their union; the wins you can have and the important collective support you can provide your fellow members by working and acting together.

In the early days of his career, Paul was part of a collective action on his worksite. Members took action to support a fellow union member who had been unfairly dismissed.

When Paul and his fellow union members heard that a fellow union member had been sacked, unfairly by their employer – they stood up, stood together and took action. Every day, Paul and his fellow members at that worksite, went to work, clocked on then downed tool and sat in the break shed. Their demand – reinstate their fellow member. Members made it clear management that no work would take place on site until their workmate got their job back. For two weeks, union members, held the line, stood strong and continued taking action until management caved and their workmate was reinstated. Not only was their mate reinstated but they were reinstated with no loss of pay!

Over his 40 plus year career, Paul has seen his union grow and get stronger and stronger.

In 2002 – 2003 Paul was part of a statewide strike action in the construction industry in South Australia. Workers were striking for better wages and conditions. The strike was long and hard. Members were on strike for close to a year. During that strike, members felt financial pressure, intimidation from the boss and the boss trying to persuade workers to cross the picket. Management even tried to get Paul to cross the picket. The boss said to Paul, you can do the work in regional SA, and no one will know – Paul’s response, “but I’ll know, so no!”

Ultimately the strike was a success and helped shaped the wages and conditions that exists in the SA construction industry today and the foundation for those wages and conditions to continue to improve.

Paul knows that being union is not just about “taking on the boss” but, for electricians particularly, being union is about “defending, protecting and improving our trade”.

Congratulations on a fantastic career Paul and congratulations on being a member of your union, standing up for your workmates and taking action to make the work, our trade and the future better.

This article was publised on 31 May 2024.