Working in paint manufacturing for 14 years, new United Voice President Matt Nugent knows how important a strong union is in protecting workers rights.
He signed up to United Voice instantly and was then nominated by his fellow workmates to be a delegate.
“Immediately there was a national EBA and I took up the role (of bargaining) for Western Australia,” said Matt.
“It was such a learning curve and I got thrown in the deep end.
“But it just showed that by being united we could get results; and we were getting great results in the paint industry at that time.”
One of Matt’s fondest memories of being a United Voice member was fighting against the introduction of the 2007 Work Choices legislation introduced by the Howard Government.
“The biggest campaign I’ve worked on was ‘Your Rights at Work’ in 2007,” said Matt.
“The 18 months (before the election) we went out and engaged with the community.
“And obviously the community rallied with the union… And we got rid of that Howard.”
Being elected to Branch Executive and as the new United Voice WA President has also been a highlight for Matt.
“Being elected to Branch Executive was another great experience and now President... well you know that’s an honour,” he said.
“It’s all about trying to help people out who are underpaid or have worse conditions than myself.”
Matt says it’s important for all workers to be a part of a strong union.
“Obviously united we can obtain pay rises and conditions; especially in today’s business world where everything is aimed at shareholders,” he said.
“The amount of casualization in the workforce is about 30 percent; it’s disgusting that people cannot have any kind of security to bring up their families.
“Have a look at what unions have done over the years and you’ll find that in a unionised workforce, the wages and conditions are a lot better.
“You have safety, you have comradeship and you can work as a team towards one aim and that’s to improve everyone’s conditions.”