Maritime Union of Australian National Secretary Paddy Crumlin has welcomed the appointment of Sally McManus as the new Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ (ACTU).
McManus is the 10th elected ACTU Secretary in the organisation’s 90-year history and the first woman to hold the prestigious position.
Previously an ACTU vice president, McManus fills the role vacated by former Secretary Dave Oliver, who left the ACTU in January.
Crumlin said trade unions needed to be on a permanent campaign footing in the workplace and in the community given the deluge of conservative misinformation and fake facts surrounding the needs of workers and the importance of their unions.
“History has been made today with Sally McManus the first woman appointed to the role of ACTU Secretary, joining president Ged Kearney for an all women senior leadership team" Crumlin said.
“Sally was widely acknowledged and respected for her diligence and collaborative leadership heading up the ACTU’s push for a change of Government at last year’s federal election and now brings those formidable campaigning skills to her new role.
“Unfortunately, the Turnbull Government’s assault on workers' rights and existing entitlements is driven by self interest and righteousness.
“The union movement is determined to expose the negativity and the consequential damage this agenda is making on workers and their families.
"The best way to do that is to do the walking more than the talking in supporting those workers - we know Sally will be wearing her shoes out to campaign for those rights.
“The recent reintroduction of the ABCC, passage of the Registered Organisations Bill and Building Code, support for penalty rate cuts and ongoing vandalism against national industries like shipping and manufacturing tells workers in this country they are targets for this government to distract from its own lack of jobs and social policy or real overall political relevancy.
"Sally McManus is a young woman with a long history of exposing that type of political hypocrisy."
McManus thanked ACTU Affiliates for electing her as Secretary.
“It is a great privilege to serve the movement and continue a lifelong pursuit of protecting the rights of working people,” McManus said.
“I am extremely proud and excited about the future but there are significant challenges facing working Australians that must be counterattacked.”
“My message today to all Australian workers: Join a union.”
“We are living through a time when corporations and the very rich have become far too powerful and this has happened so quickly that our laws and rights that keep things in balance have not kept up.
“Australians are less secure in their work and rights for working people are just not strong enough.
“The penalty rates decision makes this fact unavoidable for our political leaders, and those who ignore that will do so to their detriment.”
“So my first challenge is to stop the attack on Australian workers through penalty rate cuts.
“Workers, in their unions, will fight until this unfair decision is reversed by the Government, no matter how long it takes, so that no worker can ever be worse off by a Fair Work Commission decision again.”
“I am committed to ensuring the living standards of working Australians are the best in the world and we are no longer beholden to the power of big corporations.
“The balance of power must be shifted so all Australian workers can share in the prosperity of this great country.”
“My mission in this role will be to fight for working people to have strong rights at work.
“We have strength in numbers and I am asking all Australians to join your union and build a better future.”
ACTU President Ged Kearney welcomed the appointment.
“Sally has a passionate and untiring commitment to working people and has earnt a reputation for leadership, vision and a profound understanding of the industrial, social and economic issues facing Australia and its workers,” Kearney said.
“The election of the first woman as ACTU secretary is historic for our organisation and for the union movement.
“Her election signifies a commitment to and a shift towards true diversity and gender equity.”
“We warmly welcome Sally to the role of Secretary and look forward to her leading the fight to protect and expand the rights of working people in this country at a time when corporate power threatens to undermine all we have fought for.”
ACTU Assistant Secretary Scott Connolly said: “Sally has been relentless in pursuit of those who seek to take rights away from working people in her role as head of campaigns, I am sure she will bring that uncompromising attitude to bear as Secretary.”
ACTU Assistant Secretary Michael Borowick said: “Sally’s track record of putting members first and being a passionate advocate for the rights of working people is a gold standard for all union officials.”