Sheldon steps down as TWU branch secretary

Union heavyweight Tony Sheldon has resigned as the TWU's NSW state secretary

Union heavyweight Tony Sheldon has resigned as the NSW Transport Workers Union (TWU) state secretary, claiming he needs to focus more on a national role.

Sheldon notified the TWU Committee of Management of his decision last week, which will take effect from January next year.

"The changing nature of the Australian industrial relations system requires greater concentration on the national role of the TWU," a statement from Sheldon says.

"To continue to perform both positions would not allow me to devote enough time and energy to pursue the most pressing issues facing our members."

Sheldon will now focus more on a national ‘safe rates’ system, which has gained support from government but drawn criticism from trucking groups such as the Australian Trucking Association (ATA).

But he says it is now essential governments follow through on their rhetoric because a fixed rates scheme "is urgent".

"Its creation will allow employees, their transport operators and owner-drivers to recover their costs for vehicle maintenance, fuel, tyres and their time," Sheldon says.

The TWU has not named a replacement for Sheldon, who has led the NSW branch since 1999.

Sheldon will continue to coordinate campaigns at national level, and says he is proud of the TWU’s push for chain of responsibility laws and its fight to get owner-drivers exempted from the Independent Contractors Act.

In his statement, Sheldon referred to the NSW model as "world’s best practice", saying its continuation means thousands of NSW drivers can recover their costs and do their jobs safely.

He says the new leadership will continue the work he has done over the years and work with him to improve conditions for transport workers and their families.

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