Vale Bob Boscacci – AWU Member: 1975 - 2018

Thursday 01st March 2018

Bob's life was dedicated to his Union as a member, an Organiser for six years and then as District Secretary for 23 years.

He also served on the AWU’s National Executive including in the role of AWU National Vice President until 2013 and was awarded Life Membership of the AWU in 2009.

Bob loved nothing more than being in the arena fighting to improve the lives of his members.

His love of cooking was legendary - his authentic Italian recipes are treasured by those he shared them with.

On behalf of AWU members past and present, we extend our sympathy to the family of our former Northern District Secretary Bob Boscacci.

Back in 2009, AWU Magazine The Worker featured a story about Bob on his retirement from official duties. 

Here's the published story below:

Bob AWU Northern District Secretary Bob Boscacci, who retired from his role in June, was born in northern Queensland and commenced an electrical apprenticeship in the early 1960s. He joined the RAAF as an instrument fitter and after being discharged in 1971, went to work at Mount Isa Mines on construction.

Bob joined the AWU in November 1973 while working for Roberts Holland Constructions, on the Townsville to Greenvale Railway Line.

In 1975, he started work at the Townsville Bulk Sugar Terminal and became the site AWU rep within a week, taking over from his father. Bob was appointed to the Northern District Committee in 1978 and in 1981 was approached by AWU Organiser Lance Butler to take up a position as an Organiser for the Northern District, based in Townsville. He was informed that “the job’s not easy and you get no thanks”. But Bob was delighted that he’d been asked. He started the job on April Fool’s Day, 1981. 

Bob’s responsibilities lay geographically from Sarina in the south to Ingham in the north and Mount Isa in the west, across health, sugar, mining, tourism, hospitality, retail, construction, pastoral and local government workplaces.

He was involved in important negotiations including the Northern Australian Cement Limited dispute over the 36-hour working week in 1983, and the construction of the Townsville Hotel Casino in 1986.

In July 1986, Bob was called to Brisbane where the Branch Executive advised him that due to the resignation of the Northern District Secretary he was being appointed to take over. It had five offices spread over a larger area and included, as it was known then, Mount Isa Mines.

After the 1964 Mount Isa Mines strike, an arrangement had been reached that every two years thereafter negotiations would take place. Bob says each he went into had at least 80 to 90 persons in attendance.

The two-yearly negotiations in 1995 led to the biggest strike in the city since that in 1964, when the AWU intervened to stop other unions on site encroaching on work performed by AWU members. Following the dispute, three separate agreements were negotiated for each area of the mine. No industrial action has taken place since.

For the past six years Bob has been involved in negotiations with multinational companies which introduced AWAs in Northern District, for renewal of union collective agreements to cover members who did not accept the AWAs.

He was the Union’s representative on the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association (IUF) in 1995 and attended its executive meeting in Geneva in April that year, remaining on the executive until 1997. He was elected as the Pacific Region executive member at the congress and has attended executive meetings in Geneva each year since.

Bob also attended the United Steelworkers of America Congress in 2005 and is a past member of the Hospitality, Recreation and Other Services Sector Standing Committee, a past member of the Barrier Reef College Council, of the Townsville Enterprise Economic Development Advisory Committee, and is a past director of the Burdekin Agricultural College.

Bob said he has enjoyed his 28 years as an AWU Official and has made it his life.