MICHAEL Kaine is the new national secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union, following Tony Sheldon’s decision to step down and run for the Senate.
Mr Kaine has worked at the TWU for two decades, including as national assistant secretary and is said to be the driver behind the Safe Rates strategy and the concept of a road safety watchdog.
He led negotiations for enterprise agreements with some of Australia’s biggest transport companies including Toll and Linfox.
According to a TWU statement, he is widely respected and co-chairs the ACTU Change the Rules committee.
Tony Sheldon steps down as national secretary after 30 years with the TWU, as a member, organiser, NSW branch secretary and national Secretary.
He is to remain in the TWU for the coming months.
“The TWU is a strong, united organisation today with the sole focus of improving the lives of transport workers,” Mr Kaine said.
“I will continue to build the activism among our members so they can demand better jobs and a better future.”
Mr Kaine said the TWU wanted to work with employers and employer groups which were interested in fairness.
“We want road transport and aviation companies to know that we will fight for fairness for workers at a yard and port level but also at the top of the supply chain to ensure that wealthy retailers, manufacturers, airports and airlines are held to account over working conditions,” Mr Kaine said.
Mr Sheldon said he would continue to work on behalf of transport workers and all working families in Australia “to ensure a decent future for our children and grandchildren”.
“As a Senator I intend to bring the advocacy and activism from my time in the union movement to the policy level,” Mr Sheldon said.