Gerry hangs up his gloves

After an 18-year long career of fighting for the rights of electrical workers, Gerry Glover is leaving us to begin a well-deserved retirement. Before he left, Gerry shared his reflections on his organising career with us and his plans and hopes for retirement.

Q: You’ve been here for eighteen years; how have you seen the union change and evolve over that time?

The leadership has changed obviously. Dean Mighell was the leader when I started which was great, but the last five or six years, while Troy has been in charge, has seen the union progress further than ever before.

The younger generation of electricians are completely different to those who entered the trade eighteen years ago, which meant you had to evolve as an Organiser. There was a lot of table thumping and tantrums 
back then but it’s a completely different ball game now. 

Q: What has been the most memorable moment in your eighteen years with the ETU?
Any time I have been able to make a difference for a member is memorable: getting a good deal, saving a job or making someone grateful that they are a union member.

The latest Metro Rail Agreement was a highlight because of what we were able to achieve.

Running the Smorgon dispute when I was only a couple of years into the job was another highlight, although it was a hard slog. That campaign involved a 227-day picket line. The dispute wasn’t about money, it was about hours of work. The members stood firm and we won the 36 hour week.

Q: What do you think the union movement will look like in another eighteen years time?
If we see the same rate of change as I’ve witnessed in my eighteen years, then I just don’t know where things will end up. If any union is going to remain strong it will be this one.

I think we really need a couple of terms of a Labor government to restore the equilibrium. Because whenever the Liberals have come to power it’s just been massive attacks on unions.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in your retirement?
Having a break, going on holiday and getting a bit fitter. The nature of an Organiser’s role means that you just want to relax when the weekend comes around. So I have never gone on a fitness campaign before but I want to give it a go, to prolong my life a bit.

Q: Do you have any final words of wisdom or advice to share with us?
Stay loyal to the union. I’ve witnessed disloyalty and it does nobody any good. I’ve also witnessed the loyalty of the staff and officials of the ETU over the last five years. If you stay loyal and united, the organisation will just hum along.

Gerry’s organising area, including the rail industry, petrochemicals industry and metals manufacturing in the western suburbs will now be looked after by Aaron Douglass. 

Contact Aaron at: 
phone: 0427 288 290