Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
About the RTBU
Contact us

RTBU Seeks One Traincrew Union for Queensland

On several occasions over the last few years the RTBU has sought discussions with the AFULE on the possibility of an amalgamation between the two Unions.

The current policy of the RTBU is clear when it comes to amalgamation. We support one traincrew union for the industry. It’s our position here and we see it in action in every other state. Simply put, we’re stronger together.

In 2012 the RTBU Branch Council unanimously supported that:

“Branch Council notes that the RTBU has on previous occasions approached the AFULE seeking discussions on a potential amalgamation between the two Unions. Branch Council understands that such approaches have been rejected and the policy of the AFULE is not to amalgamate with the RTBU. However, the RTBU Branch Council again endorses as policy that the RTBU believes it inappropriate for there to be no more than one Union representing Traincrew. Whilst respecting the current anti-amalgamation position of the AFULE, the RTBU will retain its policy of full amalgamation in an effort to eventually see one Traincrew union representing all Traincrew in Queensland.”

In 2012 the AFULE responded to a request for discussions on amalgamation from the RTBU by stating that they wish to continue as an individual Union and were not therefore prepared to participate in such discussions.

The RTBU advised that amalgamation would remain our policy, that we respected the AFULE’s right to remain independent, but hoped they changed their view in the future.

In countless meetings of RTBU and AFULE members, members have asked, “why are the two Unions not amalgamated as one?”
Members across both Unions are baffled that there are two separate unions in Queensland only representing Traincrew. It seems ridiculous to many Traincrew that, for instance in a two driver operation situation, the two Drivers operating the exact same train can be in two different Unions. I agree; it is ridiculous.

The RTBU is the Traincrew Union throughout Australia with no competitor in any other State and by far the largest Traincrew Union in Queensland (going on the recently reported membership numbers of the AFULE). But we are not seeking to simply absorb the AFULE into our Traincrew Division.

The RTBU is looking for a marriage between the two Unions to finally bring the AFULE back into the RTBU which they left in 1994.

RTBU members, and I am sure AFULE members too, are concerned primarily about the present and the future and what is in their best interest as Union members. Many Aurizon Drivers from both Unions have said we do not have the luxury of operating as two separate Unions when dealing with an anti-worker organisation like Aurizon. That may have worked in the historical public service days, but Aurizon Traincrew have to face the harsh realities of the private sector and their Union has to be at full strength to do that. One decision making body is the only means to do that.

The RTBU and the AFULE would be a much stronger Union representing Traincrew if they were one body like in other States and we have therefore once again invited the AFULE to participate in discussions on an amalgamation.

The RTBU believes that an amalgamation of Unions representing not only members in the same work depots but often working together on the same trains is more appropriate than amalgamation with a Union with membership spread across the construction industry, Energex/Ergon, the mining industry, etc. outnumbering the AFULE Traincrew by over 10 to 1 in Queensland and around 50 to 1 Australia wide.

An amalgamation between the only two Traincrew unions would make us stronger and united, for the future. Put simply – it would put members first, where you belong.

I will ensure that members are advised of the response from the AFULE upon receipt.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
RTBU State Secretary,
Queensland Branch

Letter to AFULE State Secretary