Backbone of Our Movement: Andrew Irving

Andrew Irving

How long have you been a union member?

43 years.

Why did you join the union?

Third generation Communist family. Grand father coal miner Wonthaggi. Father sacked Menzies Government from TAA because he was a com. He was last left executive member of Clerks Union before it was taken over by the Groupers.

Worked for unions BLF and ARU. I was in ARU union office from childhood and also helped in UAW. Railway worker 40 years have organised workers and been saved by the union more than once over this period.

What’s your best memory/story about being in the union movement?

So many.

Rallies against Kennett and Howard, Work Choices.

Maritime Dispute in 98.

International Union Solidarity AAWL.

BLF struggle when deregistered.

RTBU standing up to Kennett and recent Campaign to take public transport back into public hands.

Union Solidarity Campaign.

What’s the most important issue facing the union movement today?

Genuine and militant leadership of union. Members now if you are not committed and they want to be part of a democratic and honest union that is committed to workers and not a political party.

Many potential members are often disappointed by unions who only want to sell memberships

Why should people join their union?

Join because unity is the only protection for workers jobs and health and safety.

You will only be heard if the union is there. The union will only understand the problems if you are active in the union.