Eimear test O'Sullivan

Railway & Transport Health fund (RT Health) is under threat of being privatized, prioritising the interests of shareholders instead of its members.


Railway and Transport (RT) Health’s is a not-for-profit health fund with origins that date back 130 years. It was founded when a group of railway employees formed a co-operative and began to regularly contribute financially to provide protection in the event of any group member’s illness or injury.

Now RT Health is a mutual health fund with over 24 thousand members - many of whom are Union members and their families. Unions such as the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU), Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and Transport Workers Union (TWU) have many members that have benefitted from the cooperative nature of the fund.

Now RT Health is under threat, thanks to a board that seems hell-bent on selling or merging the fund.

The Chair of RT Health recently sent an email to all RT Health members indicating plans to merge the fund with another, which would risk it becoming privatized. The email was full of marketing spin and was lacking in details or any evidence to support the need for this tender process. In addition, the Chair is desperately trying to scare RT Health members into believing that the RTBU is acting unreasonably simply because they are taking action to stop the fund from becoming privatized.

The RTBU is committed to acting in the best interests of all members of the fund, including in relation to their health and wellbeing. The ETU is also seeking to support its members by acting to ensure that RT Health is not privatized. The Union movement has a proud history of supporting each other and now is no different.

To protect the fund, the RTBU has written to all RT Health members seeking their support to replace the current board with one that puts members’ interests first.

The new board must pause any offers made by other funds so that it can consider whether the fund can remain competitive as an independent.

Then, and only then, if it is in the best interests of members, will an offer be considered by another fund.

Members will soon receive a request and proxy form in the mail from the RTBU. We need every member to fill out and return this form ASAP.

Removing the current board will have no impact on your current benefits or even the benefits that any tenderers are offering. 

Even if you are not a member of RT Health it is likely your family, your friends or some of your colleagues are – tell them to join the fight by returning the proxy form they receive from us!

Together, we can ensure that RT Health continues to be run for members’ benefit and not shareholder profits.


Allen Hicks

National Secretary

Electrical Trades Union

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