Australian Workers’ Union boss Paul Howes has confirmed he will step down as national secretary from July.
“For some time now I have been contemplating the next steps in my life. And as such I recognise the right thing to do is to step down,” Mr Howes said in a statement.
“Of course this has not been an easy decision to arrive at. But my primary consideration must be what is best for the organisation that has provided me with so much.”
Mr Howes said the decision was the right move for him and for the union.
“I know my decision may come as a surprise. But I was elected to this role seven years ago, at 26 years of age. I left school at 14, and commenced full-time work in the union movement at 17.
“I will cherish my membership ticket to my last day.”
And the SMH:
Australia’s highest profile unionist, Paul Howes, has broken ranks with his own union and will press for Labor and the unions to sever their historic link.
Fairfax Media understands Mr Howes has recently shifted position and now supports the severing of the 123-year old formal tie between unions and Labor. The Australian Workers Union confirmed Mr Howes’ resignation as national secretary on Monday. He will step down in July.
Recent scandals around the ALP-affiliated Health Services Union and ongoing controversies around his own union have focused attention on the Labor-union relationship.
So too has Labor’s record low primary vote and the unions movement’s declining membership and relevance.In behind-the-scenes discussions the young leader has recently revealed his personal conclusion that affiliation was damaging both the party and affiliated unions. However he has been hamstrung in his public comments by the fact that AWU’s official position was at odds with his personal view.
With respect, that’s a pipe dream. Where will Labor get its funding?
He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.