Qantas delegate returns home with new perspective
Jan 07, 2011
Sam Corrie (centre) at a gathering of union officials from around New Zealand in Wellington
The annual AMWU scholarship created to honour the life of NT Organiser Steve Milne has been heralded an outstanding opportunity by its inaugural recipient.
The scholarship, established after the New Zealand born organiser passed away in 2009, will be awarded on to AMWU delegates who seek to advance their organising skills.
At the start of November 2010 Qantas delegate Sam Corrie spent seven days touring New Zealand as a guest of the AMWU’s sister union the EPMU (Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union) as the scholarship’s first recipient.
“It was a fantastic experience. It took me outside of my day-to-day box and gave me a new birds-eye perspective on union organising and the aviation industry,” said Mr Corrie.
During the week-long exchange Mr Corrie met with EPMU officials and Air New Zealand delegates and visited the country’s advanced maintenance hanger facilities.
“It’s (the scholarship) inspired me to raise the morale of our workers, to encourage them to stand up and speak their mind.
“The union structure at our Brisbane hanger is strong but we have to do more to get members active.
“Visiting our comrades in New Zealand made me see what is possible. I was really impressed with the way Air New Zealand delegates went about solving problems and negotiating with management.”
Assistant National Secretary Glenn Thompson said that Sam had shown what can be achieved through the scholarship.
“We’re delighted with what Sam accomplished in his time in New Zealand,” said Mr Thompson.
“He established a wide network of delegates and the capacity for future activity between Qantas and Air New Zealand delegates.
“Most importantly, Sam has returned home with lots of ideas about how organising in the aviation industry can be improved locally.
“These are the kind of outcomes we are planning for in the Steve Milne Scholarship.”
Steve Milne was a dedicated unionist who began his working life as an underwater welder before becoming an official with the EPMU. He migrated to Australia in 2006 where he began his career with the AMWU.
Recipients of the Steve Milne Scholarship will spend at least a week visiting EPMU officials and delegates within their industry.
Preference will be given to projects designed to build trans-Tasman union networks within companies operating in Australia and New Zealand.
Applications for the 2011 scholarship are now open and close on Friday April the 29th.
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