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News headings from LabourStart

Tim Dawson Takes on Top Union Job

« Back to News Articles Tim Dawson Takes on Top Union Job

All those who know the TWU's new state secretary Tim Dawson, speak in glowing terms of his tenacity, work ethic and unquestionable commitment to working class people.

On April 14 the union's Branch Committee of Management appointed Tim to fill the position vacated by Rick Burton who had resigned for personal reasons.

Tim has represented the union for 30 years as a union delegate and senior organiser.

As an organiser Tim Dawson shouldered responsibility for looking after more than 1500 employees in over 100 yards. And no one works his patch harder than Tim.

He says his number one job as union secretary will be to ensure the union provides members with better representation and more value for the union fees they pay.

Standing up for worker's rights was instilled in him at an early age. It’s in his blood.

Tim was born in Wellington, in country NSW, where his father was the union rep on the local Council. The shire was the biggest employer in the district and Leo Dawson ran a strictly united depot.

"There were about 100 employees at the Council and dad had 99% of them in the Municipal Employees Union.

Apart from one diehard anti-unionist he had the lot," Tim says with pride.

"Dad derived great pleasure from signing up the sons of local farmers.

"These cockies were died-in-the-wool Liberal National Party supporters and Dad loved converting their sons into strong unionists "

On the maternal side his mum Marion was a solitary Labor councillor on the conservative dominated Council and a champion for the battlers in her community.

In 1983, like a many young blokes at the time, Tim and his mate Sandy decided to do the trek across the Nullabor to check out Perth and the chicks.

Punching well above his weight, he met, fell in love and married a delightful young lady then named Debbie White. And Perth became home for good.

Although a qualified painter by trade, the building game was going through a slump at the time and Tim was happy to take whatever work he could find.

And he found plenty of it at Discount Freight Express in Bentley loading and unloading trucks and driving fork lifts.

Before long he found himself behind the wheel of an eight tonne truck and took to professional driving like a duck to water.

At the time Discount Freight were offering drivers the opportunity to become sub-contractors and run their own businesses.

Always good at arithmetic Tim crunched the numbers and calculated that he would earn more as a subbie than a rank and file employee. So he decided to make the jump into small business.

By this time the troops at Discount Freight had already elected him as their shop steward.

Back then industrial relations was far less regulated than today and strikes were more commonplace.

"At the time we had a big stoppage over owner-driver rates and were out the gate for about three days. You had to have the courage of your convictions and we had plenty of that.” Tim recalled

"Action speaks louder than words and we ended up going back to work with everything we asked for. It was a good win."

"These days there are difficulties with taking industrial action unless you are embroiled in negotiations over a new pay and conditions agreement.

"However, this can still put workers in a very powerful position. Of course strikes and stoppages are always the last resort and we prefer sorting things out around the bargaining table.

Tim Dawson’s commitment to our union, its members and the transport industry is 100% and he has the full support of our dedicated staff and committee of management.

As well as putting in the hard yards and long hours as an organiser Tim serves on a long list of industry committees.