Janice Mayes

About this interview

We remember the activism and purpose of Janice Mayes, a unionist and advocate for social justice who passed away in 2019.

Janice Mayes dedicated her life to social justice as a unionist, lifelong member of the Labor party, and President of the Federated Clerks Union (later the Australian Services Union) from 1990. While she lost her life to cancer in 2019, her contribution to the union movement endures. 

Click here to listen to her interview at Queensland Speaks, where she discusses her activism, her family's union ethos and the industrial disputes she took part in as a union official.



A word from Jennie George

A profound sadness enveloped me when Nareen rang to tell me that we had lost Janice. 
Although our paths hadn’t  crossed for years, her friendship and our common purpose meant those bonds were never broken.

In my public life I met many people, but few touched me like she did.


She had talent, commitment, toughness, and a purpose that drove her. These qualities meant her members were always front of mind in whatever capacity she had to look after their interests: in negotiations, bargaining, in demarcation disputes ( most notably with the NTEU) and in dealing with politicians and men in the movement. 

She was fearless, forthright and straight  talking.
You were never in doubt with Janice : she called a spade  a spade. 

But there was the other side too -outside of work and her many achievements.

Her softness, compassion, loyalty 
and empathy were what made her a delight to be with. Whenever I was in Brisbane, I looked forward to catching up, to the small talk and the fun.

She was true to her principles and never the queen bee. She touched many other women, some  I know will have their own memories and tales to tell today. I’m sad that my limited mobility stops me from being with you all.

I loved Janice. I was delighted that she met her soul mate in Mike and that they shared many wonderful years together. He was with her to the very end.
Good people deserve one another.
And good people like Janice will always live in my fond memories. 


"IMGP6461_australian-services-union" by RaeAllen is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Show more
union women activism Australia