Letter to Members from Mark Diamond

Dear members,

This Friday will be my last day as RTBU National Secretary.

Leaving this job has been a very hard decision to make, as I know that very few people get the opportunity to lead such an incredible and historic organisation.

Nevertheless, I know in my heart that the time is right for me to take on other challenges, and for someone else to take the RTBU to its next level.

Over the past five years I have poured my heart into our union, and I’m proud of what we have achieved together, such as:

  • successfully opposing an industry attempt to secure mandatory audio and video in-cab surveillance of train drivers;
  • advocating for and securing a review of the Rail Safety National Law, which has just been finalised and approved by the Infrastructure and Transport Minister’s Meeting (ITMM), and which makes a number of far-reaching recommendations to improve Australia’s rail safety regime;
  • delivering operational improvements such as a new national membership system (currently in trial phase), and a quarterly national online member magazine;
  • amalgamating two Western Australian-based branches into one unified branch, and implementing structural changes to the Tasmanian Branch to secure its long-term financial viability;
  • campaigning to grow rail manufacturing, secure the future of the rail freight sector and increase investment in public transport;
  • acquiring of Training Ahead Australia – a Registered Training Organisation that is currently being converted into a Not-for-Profit organisation so rail workers across Australia have access to high-quality industry training;
  • establishing Rail Wallet – a new industry card for rail workers which will improve compliance and skills portability; and
  • putting in place a national strategic plan for the union that brings all branches and divisions together in the pursuit of common goals.

Most of all, I am proud of the way our union has pursued better pay and conditions for all members across Australia.

Our union is rightly regarded as a powerful voice for the rights of men and women in the rail, tram and bus industries, and we have achieved that reputation through the determination of our workplace delegates, and the unity of rank-and-file members.

I leave knowing that the union will be in good hands, with the appointment of Alex Claassens as my successor.  Alex has been the Secretary of the NSW Branch of the RTBU for the past 14 years, and has led the branch through some of the most difficult industrial disputes of our time.  There is no-one better qualified to take the reins of the RTBU National Office than Alex.

Furthermore, Shayne Kummerfeld will continue as Assistant National Secretary.  Under Alex and Shayne, the RTBU will have - for the first time ever - two working train drivers in the National Secretary and Assistant National Secretary positions.

Finally, I want to sincerely thank you for your support and comradeship over the past five years.

Your loyalty and service to our cause humbled me each and every day.

I know that elected trade union officials are only the temporary custodians of roles that are bigger than any individual.

But having stewardship of our great union, during this period of our movement’s great and noble fight, has been an incredible honour.

Solidarity forever,