'Outstanding' CUB members recognised as delegates of the year by ACTU
ETU and AMWU Shop Stewards from the Abbotsford CUB plant, Paul Jeffares and Chris Brown, were awarded the ‘Delegates of the Year’ award at the ACTU triennial organising conference, NexGen17, where they received a warm response from the entire movement’s leadership.
Paul (or Paulie) and Chris (or Brownie) were recognised for their workplace leadership of the 55 maintenance workers who were sacked by CUB, throughout the workers’ six-month struggle for their jobs.
The duo received a standing ovation from the 1200 delegates present. The pride in the CUB campaign was evident on the faces of all the assorted unionists gathered. Clearly the successful CUB campaign has given them strength and heart.
Paulie then gave a passionate speech, followed by Brownie who led the crowd in raising their fists, just as they had done most days for the 185 days they were turfed out.
ETU Organiser, Steve Diston, said the delegates were key to victory.
“It’s only right that Paulie and Brownie were recognised as stand out delegates. You need strong delegates to pull off a blue of this scale with the outfit we were up against.”
“Neither Paul nor Brownie were delegates when the dispute started, but their innate leadership qualities and the respect in which they were held by their workmates made them naturals to step into the role when the going got tough.”
Steve said the two delegates came from completely different generations at opposite ends of the age divide, “yet both prove you can never be too old or too young to stand up for what’s right.”
“The lesson here is that union organisers can’t be everywhere and deal with everything in a dispute. If you want to run a successful dispute, union members themselves need to step up into leadership roles.”
“These two regular Aussie workers were able to make a huge difference in their workplace when one of the largest multinational companies in the world decided to cut their pay. They made this difference by being union delegates.”
“I just hope other workers look to the example of Paul and Brownie; they never once took a backwards step in the face of overwhelming corporate power.”
“This is the difference a union of workers can make – to fight together for our futures. And win.”