Rail, Tram and Bus Union Australia.
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A Short History of the RTBU

RTBU - striving for membership involvement and action
RTBU - striving for membership involvement and action
With the creation of the Australian Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union - the RTBU – in March 1993, two important things happened. The great majority of railway workers for the first time were united in the one union. And public transport won a powerful working class advocate because the new union amalgamated the railways with the government sector bus and tram employees across the country.

The amalgamation of the three rail unions - the all-grades Australian Railways Union (ARU), the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen (AFULE), the small National Union of Railway Workers (NURWA) - and the Amalgamated Tramways and Motor Omnbibus Employees Association (ATMOEA) united some of Australia's oldest and most colourful unions, founders of the Trades and Labor Councils, the Labor Party and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).

These unions survived catastrophic defeats such as the 1912 Brisbane Tramway Strike and the 1917 Railways Strike in NSW, both of which turned into massive general strikes and social and political confrontations.

The new union was originally called the Public Transport Union, but the name was changed in 1998 to Rail Tram & Bus Union because of the impact of privatisation on the union's identity.

The RTBU has 35,000 members in the rail, tram and government bus sectors across Australia. It is affiliated to the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), and the Australian Labor party (ALP).

The RTBU is also an Associate Member of the Australasian Railways Association, and a member of the International Union of Public Transport (UITP).

[The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) is a federation of 621 transport trade unions in 137 countries, representing around 5 million workers.

The ITF was founded in 1896 in London by European seafarers' and dockers' union leaders who realized the need to organise internationally against strike breakers. Today the ITF organises workers in ships, ports, railways, road freight and passenger transport, inland waterways, fisheries, tourism and civil aviation.

The ITF represents transport workers at world level and promotes their interests through global campaigning and solidarity. It is dedicated to the advancement of independent and democratic trade unionism, and to the defence of fundamental human and trade union rights. It is opposed to any form of totalitarianism, aggression and discrimination.

The ITF is one of 10 Global Union Federations (former International Trade Secretariats) allied to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).]

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RTBU-PacNat 2009 EBA Campaign


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