RTBU looks to represent workers in the Pilbara

Hundreds of rail building and rail maintenance workers in the Pilbara may soon benefit from being part of the RTBU.


Organisers are heading north in the coming weeks to conduct the RTBU’s first ever industrial visit to the region.

According to WA Branch Secretary Craig McKinley many workers in the industry are currently employed by contractors and labour hires and for any one project there could be four, five, six or even seven sub-contractors.

“It’s largely un-unionised up there which means anything can happen and can mean that workers are being charged different rates, Craig said.

“It’s very confusing and what we will need to do is unpack this mess and work out the structure so we can start reaching out to workers and seeing how we can help them.”

Craig says with a 143km new rail line on the way from John Holland and a whole host of other projects in the North West region, there is potential for recruitment of hundreds of new members.

CFMEU Mining & Energy covers locomotive drivers in the region, but the RBTU will focus on those engaged in rail building and maintenance.

“We will not be seeking to steal any members, and the work the CFMEU has done in the region is respected,“ Craig said. “What we’re planning will only expand union presence across the Pilbara and beyond and ensure pay and conditions are maintained and improved wherever possible.”

Organiser Kristy Martin will be leading the charge up there, but working from the RBTU WA office in Perth. Stay tuned for progress on how the very first industrial visit pans out!