Cesar Melhem is the Secretary of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Workers’ Union.

Cesar was born in Lebanon in 1965. At 23 years of age, he decided to make a new life for himself in Australia, and following in the footsteps of his older brother George, settled in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

He began work as a process operator at Olex Cables, and inspired by his family’s belief in a fair go for working people, joined the Federated Ironworkers of Australia (FIA). Eighteen months later, he was elected as an FIA union delegate.

In 1990, Cesar was approached by the union’s then-leadership to stand for election. Cesar was elected to a full-time position as an organiser, and continued in that role following the FIA’s amalgamation with the AWU. He focused on organising in the labour hire, metal construction, manufacturing and petrochemical industries.

Voted in as Assistant Secretary of the Victorian Branch in general union elections in 2001 and 2005, Cesar was elected as Secretary of the Victorian Branch in August 2006.

Soon after his election as Secretary, Cesar led a campaign to secure the entitlements of AJAX members when the car component company was placed in the hands of administrators. More than $8 million worth of entitlements was secured for the workers.

He is a Director of CBUS (Construction and Building Industry Super), a graduate of the Williamson Community Leadership program and the holder of a Diploma in Electronics.

Cesar shares his life with wife Jane and their children Christopher and Caitlin. He is a keen follower of the Western Bulldogs, and relaxes by escaping to a family farm on Melbourne’s outskirts.