UNIONS NSW COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES MEETING HELD THURSDAY 13TH AUGUST 2015
AT HUTCHISON'S TERMINAL, GATE b150 SIRIUS ROAD PORT BOTANY AT 6:00PM.

The President, Com. M. Issanchon occupied the Chair.

OPENING OF THE MEETING:  

The President, Com. M. Issanchon opened the meeting and in doing so recognised the traditional owners of the land on which the meeting was held, The Gadigal People of the Eora Nation.

 

MINUTES:

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

“That the minutes from the meeting of 6th August 2015 as circulated be received”.

Seconded on the voices.

CARRIED

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

That the minutes of the meeting of 6th August 2015 be adopted”.

 Seconded and carried on the voices.

CARRIED

CREDENTIALS:

From: The Australian Workers’ Union appointing Scott Bean in place of Russ Collison for tonight’s meeting.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the credential be received and the delegate welcomed.”

 Seconded and carried on the voices.

CARRIED

APOLOGIES: 

Apologies were received and accepted for:-  Brett Holmes. 

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

“That the apologies be received and accepted”.

CARRIED

EXECUTIVE BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE:

1.  From The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association: - The NSWNMA Committee of Delegates met on 19 May and the following resolution was carried unanimously.

“This Committee of Delegates call upon the NSWNMA to commence peak level discussions with Unions NSW and other public sector unions with the view of having a combined approach to the Baird Government to amend relevant government sector policy and industrial instruments to ensure that employees becoming parents via surrogacy arrangements and a  subsequent parenting order have clear and explicit entitlements similar to that currently available under maternity, adoption and parental leave provisions. It is not an acceptable or equitable situation to have these parents treated differently simply because of inflexible interpretations of award or policy provisions that were drafted at a time predating surrogacy arrangements.”

The Association requests that Unions NSW convene a meeting of public sector unions to consider the above resolution.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved the Executive Recommendation:-“The correspondence be received and Unions NSW will convene a meeting of public sector unions regarding  employee access to leave and entitlements surrounding surrogacy arrangements.”

 

 Seconded and carried on the voices.

CARRIED

2.  From Maritime Union of Australia:-  The Sydney Branch of the MUA calls on the Minister for Corrections, Mr. David Elliott, to begin talks on the substantive issues of the affecting the prison population in the state of NSW. To date, he has refused all requests to meet with Justice Action.  

Background:  In the latest report from the Inspector of Custodial Services called “Full House”, the Minister has been warned that breaches of health regulations, overcrowding in cells and being locked for the longest period in cells in Australia could lead to riots. The report said that current conditions, “denied [prisoners] a modicum of dignity and humanity.” The smoking ban could make this tension “intolerable”. Our aim is to avoid riots and defuse the situation with proper negotiations between the parties.

 Concerns raised in the report address:

  • Living conditions
  • Smoking ban
  • Education access
  • Health access, hope, and recovery
  • Judicial certainty
  • Procedural fairness before punishment
  • Prison privatization

In the rehabilitation process that assists Prisoners in rejoining society, basic respect and dignity plays an important role. However, the few basic rights enjoyed by prisoners are currently being trampled. These issues have been put to the government in good faith by Justice Action, but have been continuously ignored.

The long history of the union movement supporting human rights is well documented, including support for the social enterprise Breakout Media Communications. What we are seeking is a continuation of that work and we look forward to the support of Unions NSW affiliates to achieve the above goals.

  1. Unions NSW calls on Minister for Corrections David Elliott to urgently address the simmering issues in the State’s prison system and respect the human rights of inmates and the broader interests of workers employed in the prison service.

  2.  We note the alarm raised in the latest report from the Inspector of Custodial Services called “Full House” in which he said the effect of current conditions on inmates ‘denied them a modicum of dignity and humanity’.
  3. We further note that the Inspector’s report warned Minister David Elliott that breaches of health regulations, overcrowding in cells and being locked for the longest period in cells in Australia could lead to riots.
  4. We are concerned that the smoking ban could increase tensions further and support the call by Justice Action for Minister Elliott to meet with them to discuss how to defuse the situation through proper negotiations.

 The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved the Executive Recommendation:-

 “The correspondence be received and Unions NSW call an urgent meeting with interested parties as soon as possible to discuss the issue.”

 

Seconded and carried on the voices.

CARRIED

REPORTS:

1.   Workers Compensation and Dust Diseases Board

Com. Lennon reported the NSW Government has passed changes to Workers Compensation that returns some of the rights they took away three years ago, but completely dismantles the NSW Dust Diseases Board.

In 2012 the State Liberal Government made sweeping cuts to Workers Compensation laws that devastated injured workers by either severely diminishing benefits or cutting them off entirely, even when a person was still injured.  They slashed workers compensation coverage, removing trips to and from work, reduced or stopped weekly payments to injured workers, capped medical payments, and much more.

After 3 years of tireless campaigning by Unions NSW and community groups such as the Injured Workers Support network the Coalition Government has finally backtracked on the cuts, but not all the way.  The State Government has increased medical coverage, extended lifetime medical cover to those most seriously injured and increased death payments. 

These changes will help some people who are already doing it tough. But the changes fall well short of restoring dignity to the majority of injured workers.

 Unfortunately the NSW Government passed legislation dismantling the Dust Diseases Board of NSW and installing a panel which transfers the power to Ministers and Department Heads to decide what compensation can be awarded and what can't. This puts the power of people’s lives and wellbeing in the hands of Ministers and Department Heads.

 The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the report be received and noted”.

 Seconded and carried on the voices.

 

CARRIED

2.  Royal Commission Liberal Fundraiser

The Secretary reported Commissioner Dyson who is running the Royal Commission into Trade Unions had accepted an invitation to speak at a Liberal fundraiser. As a result, the Royal Commission into Trade Unions should be shut down as it is untenable for the former judge charged with overseeing the royal commission to display such biased and political behaviour in what is a clear conflict of interest.

Unions NSW has always maintained that the Royal Commission is an $80 million political witch hunt orchestrated by the Abbott Government to undermine its political opponents and this revelation confirms our initial suspicions.

This Royal Commission has no claim to independence, impartiality or adherence to due process. Justice Dyson Heydon’s decision to help raise funds for the Liberal Party is merely the latest example.  The Abbott Government must terminate the Royal Commission for the political witch hunt that it is.

Com. Lennon then moved the following resolution:

 "Unions NSW calls on the Federal Government to terminate it’s politically biased taxpayer funded Royal Commission. Unions NSW calls on the Liberal Party to pay all unions legal costs expended on the Royal Commission

And to repay the wasted $80M back to the taxpayer. "

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the report be received and noted”.

 Seconded and carried on the voices.

CARRIED

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1.   The APHEDA Annual Fundraising Dinner

Wednesday 9th September at 6pm AERIAL UTS Function Centre (UTS Building 10)

Level 7, 235 Jones St, Ultimo- Online bookings available soon.

2.  Unions NSW - 2nd Equal Pay Dinner

      Wednesday 16 September 2015

      The Athenian, 11 Barrack Street, Sydney

      $65pp, tables of ten available

      RSVP to Rose Docwra via rdocwra@unionsnsw.org.au

 

3     Retired Unionists – Call to Action

Retired Unionists  Call to Action -
Monday 21st September- 10am to 2pm - Trades Hall, Sydney

Lunch will be provided for further information please contact Alison Rahill on 9881 5923

MEETING ADJOURNED AT 6:40 PM

Tagged: Minutes

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