Frank Lacey, former State President of the Victorian ARU, an official at the RTBU National Office, and a leader of the Melbourne Yard Shunters Section of the ARU, has died in Preston, aged 76.
Former ARU/RTBU National Secretary, Roger Jowett writes:
Vale Frank Lacey
Frank passed away peacefully at Preston on November 7 at the age of seventy-six, with his family by his side.
Frank was a prominent rail unionist for over twenty years at both job level as Shunters Section Secretary, ARU Victorian Branch President, Assistant National Secretary of the ARU and Assistant National Secretary Rail, Operations Division of the RTBU.
Frank was an activist in the Victorian Branch in the 1970s and 1980s, an era of great industrial and political change. Always a forward-looking unionist, he promoted and respected full membership involvement in the union’s activities. He was part of a younger generation of Victorian rail unionists who became prominent in the ARU.
Within the rail industry the rumblings of massive challenges to railway workers were beginning to emerge; railway deficits challenged state budgets, technological change was sweeping the industry and deep-seated cuts to rail services and jobs had begun in earnest. The Victorian Branch leadership fought for alternative industry plans which prioritised community over corporate needs.
Frank was highly competent in all aspects of union work, whether it was meeting with members on the job, strategising around campaigns, preparing, and presenting cases in the Industrial Commission or the incessant lobbying of politicians.
Frank brought to his union work a deep humanity, a wicked humour and an ability to talk issues through with all sides of the industrial and political spectrum. He earned the respect of those whom he encountered.
Frank was a fine example of practicing through his day-to-day union work the union values of respect for working people, forthrightness, a fighting spirit, democracy, and the timelessness of solidarity. Unionists of the calibre of Frank Lacey have made a mighty contribution to the Australian Labour Movement.
Frank’s funeral will take place at the Lonegran and Raven Chapel, 187 Queens Parade Clifton Hill on Saturday 18th November commencing at 11 am.
A virtual signature book has been established and can be accessed via ravensfunerals.com.au