Home About The RTBU
A Short History Part of the Environment Movement RTBU in 1990s Developing a Land Transport Industry The Future of the RTBUNews
Notice of Rule Alteration Application Latest News Archive By Date Archive By Subject Archive By EmployerRTBU Journal Branches
Queensland Branch New South Wales Branch Victorian Branch South Australia - Northern Territory Branch Tasmanian Branch Western Australia BranchRTBU Organising Centre Trains of Treasure For Students
Objects of the Australian Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union Structure of the Rail Tram & Bus Union About the RTBU
Structure of the Rail Tram & Bus UnionThe Rail Tram & Bus Union is a robust expression of trade union democracy in Australia. It has elections for honorary officials every two years, with a relatively high participation rate, with elected rank-and-file delegates being the majority in all Branch Councils, Divisional Committees and the National Council. It has 34 fulltime elected officers, and dedicated industrial, research, workers compensation and publicity officers, and 500 honorary officers. Its members are able to participate through an appropriate and evolving structure of Divisions, Branches, Sub-Divisions and Sub-Branches.
The RTBU has six Branches - Queensland, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia / Northern Territory, and Western Australia. The number of fulltime officers varies from Branch to Branch depending on membership levels.
The Branch Executive is composed of the elected officers: Branch President, Branch Vice-President, Branch Secretary, Divisional representatives, and elected Branch Organisers.
There is also provision for Sub-Branch structures based on geographic areas, and Sub-Branch officers are honorary positions.
Members supported the 1993 amalgamation which formed the RTBU partly because the new union structure unified the amalgamating partners through Branches, and formally recognised different occupational groups of workers, and the historic union structures, by creating Divisions.
There were six Divisions created for the RTBU:
In 1993, all Divisions, except for Workshops and Administration, had an elected full-time national officer with the title "Assistant National Secretary - Divisional". Divisions also operate at the Branch level, with elected fulltime officers being members of the Branch Executive.
There can also be Sub-Divisions within the Branches. Sub-Division officers are honorary positions, and form Divisional Committees. Sub-Divisions are occupationally based and can cover geographic areas or special classifications.
The highest decision-making body in the RTBU is the National Council. It meets every two years to determine overall policy and direction. The most recent National Council meeting was held in October 2001.
The majority of the 64 National Councillors are rank-and-file delegates elected on a Branch Divisional basis from across Australia, together with fulltime elected officers.
During National Council meetings, each National Division also holds a meeting to determine national policy for its area of concern.
In between National Council meetings, the 20 National Executive members meet twice each year to implement the decisions of the National Council and to make decisions on new issues as they arise.
The National Executive is composed of an elected honorary National President, National Vice-President, fulltime National Secretary, the elected Assistant National Secretaries from the Divisions, the Branch Secretaries, and a number of delegates from Branches, based on the size of the Branch.
There is a similar process at the Branch level, with Branch Council and Branch Divisional meetings taking place regularly, and the Branch Executive managing the affairs of the Branch in between Branch Councils.
The RTBU elects its fulltime officers at the National and Branch levels every four years, and elects its honorary National, Branch and Sub-Division and Sub-Branch officers every two years.
This means that there is an election every two years, generally in November. The next election for all positions is due in November 2002.
The RTBU has a turnout of 30% for elections, a relatively high participation rate for union elections in Australia, where voting is voluntary. In the Tram & Bus Division there is an attendance ballot held at the workplace, with over 90% of members participating.
Due to the reduction in union membership numbers since 1993, the RTBU has reduced the number of fulltime officers and amalgamated some Divisions at the Branch level.
There are now only two full-time Assistant National Secretaries - for the Rail Operations and Locomotive Divisions. National Council has resolved to replace these fulltime positions with two National Organisers.
The New South Wales Branch is organised on a multi-Divisional, Divisional and regional basis. There are six Divisions.
In Queensland, the Branch is organised on a regional basis - with fulltime officers in Brisbane, Rockhampton and Brisbane - and on a Divisional basis.
In Victoria, there are six Divisions, and three fulltime officers - Locomotive, Tram & Bus, and Rail Operations. The Infrastructure and Workshops Divisions share one organiser.
In Western Australia, the Tram & Bus Division ceased because of the full privatisation of TransPerth buses. The other Divisions have been merged down to two operating Divisions - Locomotive and Rail.
In South Australia / Northern Territory, there are two Divisions - the Rail Division, and the Tram & Bus Division, but there is only one fulltime officer - the Branch Secretary.
In Tasmania, there is a Rail Division and a Bus Division, and only a part-time Branch Secretary, and one part-time officer for Rail.
In 2001, the National Council placed a major focus on the development of strong delegate structures and allocated 2.5% of union funds to union education.