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Members back ETU leadership by electing them unopposed

Nicholas McCallum

Leadership backed at the ballot as union celebrates its first century. 

The mighty ETU has hit a milestone – it’s 100th birthday.

In July the Electrical Trades Union of Australia celebrated its centenary with the 100 Years of Power conference on the Gold Coast.

The ETU’s 100 Year celebration was attended by more than 300 ETU officials and dozens of comrades from unions across the globe, including New Zealand, Fiji, the Philippines, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and the US, was a roaring success.

ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks. Photo: Max Mawby

The 100 Years of Power conference kicked off on Monday July 8, the same day returns for the quadrennial elections came in, revealing every member the union’s leadership team had been elected unopposed.

Re-elected National Secretary Allen Hicks thanked members for their on-going support with their endorsement of the ETU’s leadership and vowed to continue serving their interests.

“It is an immense privilege to serve as the national secretary of the mighty Electrical Trades Union and it is pleasing that all of our branch secretaries have been given the tick of approval by our members,” he said.

“To have all our leaders elected unopposed confirms that the men and women who make up the ETU overwhelmingly approve of the work we’re doing and we we’ll continue to serve them.”

The union’s leadership team was given an emphatic endorsement by members, with the national secretary, assistant national secretaries and the secretaries of every state branch all elected by rank and file members without challenge.

Elektrikerna (Swedish Electrical Union) Youth President Jonas Eriksson presents Allen Hicks with a sailing ship. Image: Max Mawby

National Secretary Hicks said as well as the strong endorsement from membership, the ETU also welcomed six women who were elected unopposed into new Affirmative Action (AA) positions.

“We now have six very smart and very capable women elected to Affirmative Action roles which will make our union stronger by ensuring all voices are heard,” he said.

An AA officers were each elected to their state branches. As well as sitting on their state councils, the six women will soon hold a second-tier election to select one AA officer to sit on the Divisional Council, which govern for all ETU branches.

Newly elected AA representative for NSW Ellen McNally said it was “overwhelming and exciting” to be given the opportunity to represent women members in the union.

“I’ve always loved our union and I never thought I’d get this far,” she said.

ETU 100 Years of Power Women's Conference delegates, with Ellen McNally top right.

With EBA negotiation season coming up, McNally said the time to start thinking about what women workers need in agreements was now.

“We’re coming into the EBA negotiation and we’re going to fight for super to be paid during parental leave which could be a first for a NSW trade industry,” said McNally, who works at Endeavour Energy.

One way to achieve that, she said, was having a “female presence in the negotiations to ensure their voices are heard”.

“We’re looking at expanding the female representation,” she said.

“So we’ll be taking every opportunity of reaching out to apprentices and getting them on board and fighting toward the same goal from the start.”

Construction Energy & Timber Workers Union of Fiji National Secretary John Alexander present ETU National Secretary Hicks with a token of appreciation. Image: Max Mawby

National Secretary Hicks said by “enshrining the Affirmative Action roles in the ETU’s leadership” the union will continue as a “forward-looking union and a champion of progressive causes, as we’ve always been”. 

“With the ETU turning 100 this year we’ve been looking at our history and how far we’ve come over our first centenary, as a union that has always been moving forward,” he said.

“I’m proud to be national secretary of the ETU and I want to thank our members for their endorsement and ongoing support.” 


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