Thank you and farewell to Divisional President Gary Way
Sadly, Divisional President Gary Way will be leaving the RTBU in early October.
Gary and his wife Anne both grew up in the countryside and they have decided it’s time to move back. They will be taking on a very different challenge – managing a motel in Bourke. This is a great opportunity for them and we’d like to wish Gary a fond farewell.
We asked Gary to reflect on his career with the RTBU.
1. What drove you to get involved in the union in the first place and then eventually to take on a leadership position?
I grew up in the Hunter Valley coalfields, and came from a strong union background. Since I can remember I’ve been driven by a desire to help people on wages to get better conditions. I think it was bred into me.
The first thing I did when I moved to the city and got a job as a bus driver was to join the union. I quickly became involved in the union committee at Willoughby depot with David Malcolm, Sean Bourke and Victor Saloum. They taught me a lot and gave me my first union responsibility – being in charge of the raffle.
I was elected as the Willoughby delegate in 2007 and then in 2011 I decided to stand for election as the Divisional President. Chris Preston and I thought we had a lot we could contribute, so we drafted up an agenda that we took to the members, and we were elected.
2. You’ve been the President of the RTBU Tram and Bus Division for four years now. What are you most proud of achieving?
I think our biggest achievement was when we won the dispute around gas buses. We told STA that members would refuse to drive gas buses until we got our safety concerns addressed. After a long fight we got what we wanted and after that our members were safer on the road. That was a great achievement.
3. Which other moments stand out?
We called a snap blockage of Macquarie Street after the NSW Parliament introduced draconian workers compensation legislation. It was bad for all workers but it was especially bad for our members. RTBU members parked their buses in front of Parliament House and blocked the street. We certainly let the Government know that we weren’t going to let them walk all over us.
Another highlight was when we took STA to court over casualisation of the workforce, and we won. We wanted to stop them being able to use part-time broken shifts and casuals to carry out overtime in the first instance. As a result we maintained a 22 per cent cap on casual/part-time employees at a time when many industries were getting away with casualising their workforces.
4. What will you miss the most?
I’ll miss the mateship and the comradarie, and the satisfaction I get every time I help a member having a difficult time at work.
I’d like to thank my colleagues as well as all the delegates and members for the many good moments I have had as part of the RTBU.