RTBU History

The RTBU was formed 1 March 1993 through the historic amalgamation of three railway unions and one tram and bus union (AFULE, ARU, ATMOEA and NURW). These unions have a strong tradition dating back to the nineteenth century. The oldest was the Locomotive Engine Drivers' Association which formed in 1861 in Victoria making the RTBU the oldest rail union in Australia.

Formation of the RTBU brought together workers from across the industries for the first time as one united force, strengthened by their combined resources, expertise and experience.

Today, the RTBU has 35,000 members across Australia, with 7500 members in Queensland.

The RTBU differs from other Unions as it is based on the belief that the interests of its members are best served as one Union, regardless of skill, craft, classification or employer across our industries.

The RTBU is made up of 6 divisions looking after the particular needs of a diverse group of workers.

The Queensland Branch of the RTBU operates district offices in Brisbane, Townsville and Rockhampton. The head office and Bus Division offices are also located in Brisbane.

The RTBU has over 30 sub-branches throughout the state and a comprehensive team of full-time officials and industrial staff.

The RTBU is the principal union for public transport. It sets the course for trade union activity in the industry, protecting members’ employment and maintaining wages and conditions for all workers.

The RTBU is also the dominant union in the private sector rail industry.

Members in our industries enjoy wages and conditions above those of many others working in similar areas. This is the result of working within highly unionised industries.

The RTBU is one of Australia’s major industry-based unions, able to cover all employees in public transport and the rail industry generally. It is also registered in the Federal and Queensland Industrial Relations Commissions. In Queensland, all rail workers and BCC bus drivers are eligible for membership.

The RTBU works to promote public transport as an essential element in a fair and environmentally sustainable Australian society. It promotes the interests of public transport workers as a key to achieving that goal.

The RTBU is affiliated with the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU), Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the Australian Labor Party (ALP).


Australian Super

Maurice Blackburn

Union Health