Andrew Harrison, an AWU Gold Member, takes time out between trucks in Griffith, NSW, to explain why he is AWU.
“I work on a travelling road crew, driving front-end loaders and other plant for Transport for NSW. We are based in Narrandera, but move around NSW.
I joined the AWU in about 1989, when I was working in Canberra. I joined for job protection, so if they tried to screw me over I had someone who could help me out.
It paid off: the AWU has saved my job twice. I’ve had a few issues that caused me trouble, and the union sorted it out for me.
We have a strong membership. Of the 50 or 60 workers in the crew, only three or four are not union members.
The AWU looks after us and has won us important conditions.
For example when we camp away it’s one man, one room. You don’t sleep with a bloke at home, so why should you have to at work.
We also get a $100 a night allowance, tax free, when on camp. Both these were won by the union before I was here.
If I am on a break in the meal room and a new worker comes in, I’ll ask if they are in the union, and if not, tell them to go sit outside and eat beside the tree with the flies.
This is our meal room, something the union won.
It’s a bit of tough love, but I do tell new workers, it’s really to your own benefit to join.”