TWU Vic/Tas Secretary Mike McNess and Assistant Secretary Mem Suleyman have welcomed another four-year term delivering strong wages, safe conditions and a secure future for road transport and aviation workers in Victoria and Tasmania.
The AEC, which oversaw the process, has now confirmed Mike McNess and Mem Suleyman’s reappointment, following a robust democratic election.
In road transport, McNess and Suleyman will use the next four years to build on the powerful workplace agreements won by workers next year, as well as working to address the deadly Amazon effect threatening traditional transport through its exploitative business model.
TWU members recently welcomed a commitment from Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke, acting on the unanimous push from a transport roundtable ahead of the recent Jobs and Skills Summit to empower the Fair Work Commission to set enforceable standards in transport. The newly-elected team will work closely with other branches to get these life-saving reforms off the ground.
In aviation, the branch will continue to hold Qantas to account for its race to the bottom on wages and conditions, and stand with workers to rebuild strong, secure jobs across ground handling, cabin crew and pilots.
The team will also continue work to secure comprehensive safety and risk management systems for bus drivers, whose safety at work should be paramount, as well as ensuring proper amenities and secure jobs.
Mike McNess said:
“TWU members have led the charge over the last four years during a tumultuous time for our industry. We welcome this result following a fair and robust election process, and we are privileged to be able to head the fight in Victoria and Tasmania for all transport workers across road transport and aviation.”
“We have a positive plan for every workplace, spurred on by members’ strong efforts to secure their jobs in road transport, defeat Qantas and rebuild jobs across aviation, and demand safe jobs in buses.”
“We’re looking forward to getting on with the job of improving the lives of transport workers and their families.”
Mem Suleyman said:
“We are humbled by this strong endorsement from the membership. Members have led a strong charge across aviation and road transport for a better industry, and will continue to be front and centre as we work to lift standards for all workers.”
“I am incredibly grateful to the members who have shown every day that they will not relent in our mission towards a transport industry where all participants can thrive. We look forward to a term working with the membership towards life-changing reforms that are just on the horizon.”
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine, re-elected unopposed for another four year term, said the result showed members’ powerful endorsement for a union that will continue to deliver strong results.
“It’s been a tumultuous few years for transport workers, but the team headed by Mike McNess and Mem Suleyman has gone above and beyond to stand side-by-side with workers. We look forward to working together nationally to move towards a safer, fairer and more sustainable transport industry.”
The previous election term was one of the most tumultuous periods for transport workers, but with some major successes for TWU members in Victoria and Tasmania, including:
- Negotiated hundreds of local workplace agreements that delivered crucial pay increases, 15% super at major transport operators, strong conditions and locked in job security
- Kept the bus network running safely during lockdowns with no lost jobs.
- Negotiated and transitioned stood-down airline workers into other work.
- Playing a significant role in ensuring Virgin’s survival and commitment to jobs
- Delivered historic job security, wages and conditions across the transport industry.
- Trained over 500 workplace Delegates with a comprehensive program.
- Pioneered family violence leave clauses and women’s advocate training provisions in enterprise agreements.
- Implemented industry first mental health provisions for transport workers.
- Represented over 200 members in unfair dismissals and won half a million dollars in compensation.
Mike McNess bio
Mike McNess joined the TWU as an Organiser in 1995 after working in the transport industry. Mike also sits on the Transport Industry Council, the peak body responsible for making recommendations to the Minister for Industrial Relations on commercial practices affecting owner drivers.
In 2013 Mike was appointed as a Senior Organiser, and in 2021 Mike was appointed to the National Committee of Management of the Transport Workers Union of Australia. Beyond the yard, Mike has spent significant time and effort lobbying to align national laws that will deliver safe rates across the transport industry, and represented the union internationally at the International Transport Forum Conference, which acts as the think tank for transport policy around the world.
Mem Suleyman bio
Mem has fought for and won better conditions for transport workers in countless campaigns across Victoria and Tasmania for over a decade. In 2017, Mem was appointed National Negotiator for the Ceva Logistics Enterprise Agreement by the TWU, before leading 2021 national negotiations and strikes at StarTrack and securing wins for thousands of workers. During the pandemic, Mem was directly involved in negotiating jobs for stood-down flight attendants in the Victorian hotel quarantine program, and facilitating transitions to other transport jobs for other transport workers through the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria program.
In 2021 Mem was appointed Assistant National Secretary of the Vic/Tas branch. He was also recently appointed to the Transport Industry Council as a voting member, and represented hardworking Tassie members at the recent Job Summit Roundtables in Launceston and North Hobart.