Congratulations to our Life Members for 2023 - Calvin Berryman, Lorraine Walter and Les Calder.
Calvin's story -
Calvin worked at Energy Queensland for 38 years – from 1985 when he started as a Trainee Linesman up until his retirement in 2022.
During his career, Calvin wore many different hats and took on a variety of different roles within EQ such as a Designer, Improvement Officer, Operations Controller and Outage Co-ordinator.
While employed as a Designer, Calvin completed an adult apprenticeship to become an Electrical Contractor. Although this training was supported by the workplace, it was not supported in relation for time to study. All of this was done by Calvin on his RDO’s, weekends and holidays.
During his time as an Improvement Officer, Calvin sought new technologies to suit the plight of the low-cost connections to Ergon’s rural customers. He was responsible of trialling new technologies to address the voltage fluctuations in remote connected customer areas which saw Calvin travel across Queensland in this role delivering energy to communities.
A union member all his working life, Calvin also took strike action during the famous 1985 Energy strikes against the Bejelke-Petersen Government’s domination of the Power Industry. Calvin says, “Although we nearly lost our house due to loss of income at this crucial time, it felt right to oppose the dictatorial approach of the Premier.” Good on you Calvin!
Calvin said: “The union collective is important in the workplace because it empowers workers, protects their rights, improves working conditions, and fosters a more equitable and inclusive workplace. By joining forces, workers can achieve outcomes that benefit both individuals and the broader workforce.”
Thank you Calvin for all your years delivering energy services to Queenslanders and for always standing up as a union member! Congratulations of your Life Membership Award to our Union!
Congratulations on being awarded Life Membership to a former Vice President of our Union, Lorraine Walter.
Lorraine started her working career in the banks and then moved to a cashier role at Armaguard in 1984. When she started at Armguard, she became a member of the Federated Clerks Union which then became the ASU Northern Division, which eventually amalgamated to become The Services Union.
After having strong union membership at both the Commonwealth and ANZ Banks, where Lorraine took strike action for better wages and conditions earlier in her career, starting at Armaguard came as a bit of a shock. Lorraine said it was hard because her workmates were disinterested in union membership and too scared to stand up for their rights. This saw EBA negotiations fall by the wayside, employees at Armguard fall behind the State Clerks Award, and the employer take workers for granted.
This all changed when Lorraine met Justine Moran from the ASU Townsville Office. Together they made a real push for better wages in the EBA. They signed nearly all the staff and were prepared to take strike action. Armaguard management could not believe staff were serious, waiting until the eleventh hour to concede! The Armguard staff won but Lorraine says now she wished they asked for more, when she saw how much management backed down after the threat of strike action!
Organising in the private industry is no easy feat and it was difficult at times for Lorraine to get workmates to join the union. With a vigilant attitude and wanting to make a difference, Lorraine became a Workplace Delegate and later the Vice President of our former North Queensland Clerical and Administrative Industry Division Committee. This important leadership role saw Lorraine drive the IDC ship and encourage other Administrative workers to stand up in their workplaces for fair and just working rights in North Queensland.
Thank you Lorraine for everything you have done for members of our Union over so many years, especially workers in North Queensland. Congratulations of your Life Membership.
Les was from the Local Government Industry, worked for Cairns Regional Council and has been a delegate for 6 years and part of the Industry Division Committee for 5 years.
Les was committed to the principles of fairness and equality and this could be seen through his untiring efforts during successive stints of enterprise bargaining at Cairns Regional Council. Management were presented with his calm and soft voice which did not hide a fierce determination to gain the best outcome for members. And he did. Many times. When not in bargaining Les could always be relied upon to give support and advocacy for members facing their own problems with management.
Finally, Les always had a sharp eye and talent for developing new delegates and we should all be very thankful for that. A committed unionist and a treat to work alongside. We thank Les for his dedication to our Cairns members.