Who is in the office?
Secretary/Treasurer, Graham Bird
Assistant Secretary, Paul Conway
Graham Bird has been an officer of the Union since 1980 when he was employed as the Union's claims officer with responsibilities for handling workers compensation claims, wage claims and various other disputes in relation to breaches of Awards or Agreements.
He also had responsibility for Occupational Health and Safety. He was actively involved in the early 1980's in trying to reform the workers compensation system as part of the Trades Hall Council Workers Compensation Committee and the ALP Industrial Affairs Policy Committee. He took a leading role in negotiating the WorkCare legislation and the Occupational Health & Safety legislation introduced by the Cain government in 1985. Bird was a Trade Union representative on the Board of the Accident Compensation Commission from its inception in 1985 until 1992 when he was removed by the Kennett Government.
Bird was elected Assistant Secretary of the Union in 1986 following the death of the previous Assistant Secretary Maurie McPike.
Bird was elected Secretary of the Union in 1997 following the retirement of Wally Curran.
He has been a Director of the Meat Industry Employees Superannuation Fund since 1986 and is currently Fund Secretary.
He is on the Federal Executive of the Union and is a Federal Councillor. He has represented the Union in many forums of the ALP, including State and Federal Conference and State Administrative Committee for many years. He was Victorian President of the ALP from 1987 to 1989.
Bird represented the Union on the enquiry into the Meat Industry conducted by the AIRC from 1990 to 1992 which included inspections of meat works throughout Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Germany and the USA.
He has been a director of MINTRAC and MeatTrain since their inception.
He has been the organizer for R.J. Gilbertson/SBA, P&S Seigel, Herds and is currently responsible for Don, Tibaldi, Inghams and Colonial Farm.
Prior to his employment with the Union he worked at P& S Siegel
He started his working life as a school teacher.
Paul was elected as Union Organiser in November 1997. Prior to this he had worked at Herds for 17 years. He started work on the mutton chain at M.C.Herd in Corio in November 1980. After three months he moved on to the beef line. He worked at Herds for 17 years. He was elected as the Herd's Health and Safety Representative, the Union Shed Delegate and also as Herd's members' Committee of Management representative for a number of years.
Paul has been trained in Occupational Health & Safety, Train the Trainer, Mintrac, Workplace Assessor, WorkCover Conciliation and Computers.
He was an Organisere for 7 years. Then for a year from November 2004 Paul stepped out of Organising and became a Health and Safety Representatives Support Officer. When Paul Davey decided to retire, Paul Conway returned to his broad industrial role and he was elected as the Assistant Secretary.
Organiser, Collin Ross
Collin Ross has worked in the meat industry for 20 years. For the first 4.5 years he worked in meat rooms in the retail industry. This was followed by the next 20 months as a butcher, relieving butcher, second in charge and meat manager at Coles. Then Collin worked in a local boning room as a slicer at Scorpio Meats for 3.5 years.
This was followed by 10 years and 2 months at G&K O'Connor in Pakenham where he worked as a slicer for that time. Collin was an OH&S rep for 5 years. He was a Slicers' Delegate for a period of time and was the Shed Delegate for 3 years.
This was the time of the major dispute with O'Connor's from 1999. Collin outlasted the nine months of being locked out, the period of being paid 60% pay cuts, of being isolated in the notorious 'small boning room' where the Unionists were cut off the Boning Room. Collin went through the many court cases that the Union ran to fight these actions of the employer.
In particulart the years of the dispute at G&K O'Connor has built skills that Collin brings to the role of Union Organiser.
Organiser, Jim Brittain (Western District)
Jim Brittain has been an Organiser with the Union since March 1990. His area goes south from Geelong to the South Australian border. It also includes the Wimmera as far as Dimboola and the Kyneton/Daylesford/Castlemaine area. He covers meatworks, casings factories, supermarkets, retail butcher shops, smallgoods factories and pig slaughtering facilities.
Prior to becoming an Organiser he worked at a number of meatworks including Queanbeyan, Ballarat, Goulburn and Camperdown. He was a labourer's delegate, slaughtermans delegate, works delegate and a member of the Committee of Management of the Victorian Branch of the AMIEU before becoming an Organiser.
He has worked in the industry for 31 years.
Organiser, Bob Savine
Bob Savine has taken on the role of Organiser on the request of the Committee of Management in October 2003. Bob has worked in the meat industry for 35 years. His first 5 years were in Butcher Shops. His next 10 years were in meat rooms in Woolworths and Safeway. The next 10 years were with Coles and for 10 years after that he was in the meat rooms for BiLo. He has been a meat room manager for all three retail chains. Bob worked in Mildura for 4 years. For the past 5 years Bob has been on the Committee of Management as a representative of members in BiLo stores. He was also elected as the workers' health and safety representative in the meat room in Croydon BiLo where he has been actively pushing BiLo to eliminate risks for the last 6 years.
Bob is the Organiser for meat rooms in the retail sector from Mildura to Echuca, Colac to Geelong and Bendigo with some in the western area. He is also the Organiser for workers in some of the smallgoods manufacturers.
He is pleased to be taking on the challenge because being an Organiser allows him to meet and help workers in the industry and being part of the team. Coming fresh from the supermarkets he can easily relate to the day to day experience of the workers.
Organiser, Laurie Burley
Laurie Burley became an Organiser in 1989 with his area of responsibility mainly in the retail sector. He had been very active during the 1982 strike of supermarket butchers and packers and sought a position on the Union's Committee of Management. His activity gave rise to his election as an Organiser.
Laurie's area of responsibility encompasses Echuca down to Rochester, Shepparton, Eastern Metropolitan Melbourne, Gippsland to Lakes Entrance, up through the ranges to Wodonga, Benalla, Wangaratta, Seymour and surrounding districts. For the last couple of years he has also been responsible for organizing some boning rooms and smallgoods factories in the eastern suburbs.
He had commenced a five year butchers apprenticeship in 1965 with Coles and worked in the retail industry until he took up a position as retail organizer with the Union in 1989. He worked for Safeway in the early 1970's (the American Safeway), then spent a couple of years in Tasmania working for a company called Ralph Voss, now owned by Woolworths. He also worked in South Australia for a year in retail.
Laurie finds the job of Organiser most interesting and satisfying as it allows him to meet and assist people from varied backgrounds and from a wide range of experience.
Health & Safety Officer, Gwynnyth Evans
Gwynnyth Evans is both the Victorian and National Occupational Health and Safety Officer. She has been since May 1999. She provides support to health and safety representatives, assists with workplace inspections, provides training for health and safety representatives, supports injured members with WorkCover, represents them in Conciliation with disputed claims and also supports members against discrimination. She also edits the irregular Victorian Meat Worker and is the person who works on this web page.
Gwynnyth represents meatworkers on a series of WorkSafe/WorkCover tripartite committees. She has been on the WorkCover Advisory Committee since 2000 the Compensation and Rehabilitation Working Party since 2001, and the WorkSafe Minister's Meat Industry Working Party since 2001.
For 4 years before coming to the AMIEU she was the Victorian Trades Hall Council WorkCover Officer who developed training for Conciliation Assistants, set up Union Assist and developed VTHC policies on WorkCover. She co-ordinated Union campaigns against the Kennett Government's attacks on injured workers' compensation rights, particularly against the attack on workers' Common Law rights.
Prior to this she had been VTHC Occupational Health and Safety Standards Development Officer for several years, coordinating Union input into Regulations, Codes of Practice and Guidance Material for several years before the abolition of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Commission. She was involved in the initiation of negotiations that eventually gave rise to the National Guidelines for Health and Safety in the Meat Industry.
From 1986 to 1990 she had been Health and Safety Officer for the Australian Nursing Federation with a year seconded to VOHSC/DOL to draft a Code of Practice for the Health Industry.
From 1983 she was Development Officer with the Workers' Health Action Group organising campaigns to get decent Occupational Health and Safety laws. In this role she was also involved in campaigns to have the workers' compensation system recognise injuries such as Overuse Injuries. She was also involved in developing and providing health and safety training for a number of Unions.
Prior to being employed in Occupational Health and Safety she worked in jobs against racism, for women's rights and for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders' rights.