UNIONS NSW COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES THURSDAY 18TH JUNE 2015
IN TRADES HALL AUDITORIUM, SYDNEY AT 5:30PM

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

PRESENT:  E. Maiden [Acting Secretary}, P. Doughty [Acting Assistant Secretary].

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 Acting Secretary, Com. E. Maiden moved:- 

“That the minutes from the meeting of 11th June 2015 as circulated be received”.

 Com. P. Noack seconded.

CARRIED

The Acting Secretary, Com. E. Maiden moved:- 

That the minutes of the meeting of 11th June 2015 be adopted”.

Com. J. Taylor seconded.

CARRIED

CREDENTIALS:

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

From:  The Textile Clothing & Footwear Union of Australia:- appointing Tracey LeFevre in place of Mark Edwards for tonight’s             meeting.

The Acting Secretary, Com. E. Maiden moved:-

“That the credentials be received and the delegates welcomed.”

 Com. J. Davidson seconded.

CARRIED

APOLOGIES: Apologies were received and accepted for: M. Lennon, M. Morey, R. Collison, B. Smith, G. Dwyer, A.  Claassens.

The Acting Secretary, Com. E. Maiden moved:-

“That the apologies be received and accepted”.

 Com. H. Bellette seconded.

CARRIED 

MOTION OF CONDOLENCE

The Acting Secretary, Com. E. Maiden advised delegates it was her sad duty to report the passing today of Jack Cambourn, former National Secretary of the FEDFA at the age of 87.

Jack was a stalwart of working class struggle. Born in Balmain in 1928, he led the FEDFA, one of our predecessor unions, for many years. As Secretary of the NSW branch of the FEDFA he was an early leader of the 1970s Green Bans Movement, which crucially saved so much Sydney heritage.

As National Secretary of the FEDFA his vision unified the membership and enabled the formation of the modern CFMEU.

The CFMEU will be hosting a memorial service and information will be provided to affiliates.

A MINUTES SILENCE WAS OBSERVED.

GUEST SPEAKER:

The President, Com. M. Issanchon introduced James Shaw to address Council.

James Shaw said he would like to thank Unions NSW for organising the Jeff Shaw Memorial Lecture last week and The Hon. Phillip Boulten S.C. for his outstanding presentation on the evening. His address was most relevant in the context of current attacks on rights including those of unionists.  

James said he personally wanted to thank Mark Lennon and specifically Salim Barbar for their work and support in organising the event.

The Acting Secretary, Com. E. Maiden thanked James for his kind words and Unions NSW looks forward to this event becoming even bigger and better in years to come.

EXECUTIVE BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE:

1.  From Australian Manufacturing Workers Union: This week the Federal Government has announced an agreement in principle on a free trade agreement with China, the so-called ‘CHAFTA’. All working people in Australia and their families will be affected by the implications of this trade agreement. Despite assurances by the Prime Minister, it is very difficult to accept that the CHAFTA is in the national interest. 

Of particular concern is the haste with which this agreement has been finalised by the Abbott Government and the absolute secrecy that has surrounded its detail. In fact, so secret have been the discussions between Minister Robb and the Chinese Government that the Australian Parliament will be asked to vote on legislation for this agreement without having seen the details of its provisions.

While the details have been kept secret, the Government’s own statements make clear that it has made major concessions to the Chinese Government on temporary labour mobility and has also agreed that Chinese investors will be able to sue Australian governments into the future on the basis of a claim that a change in our laws or policies "harms" their investment, known as Investor-State Disputes (ISDS). While the minister says that there are “safeguards” to protect health, environment and other public welfare measures, similar “safeguards” have not prevented foreign investors from suing under similar trade agreements. For example, the French multinational, Veolia, which has a substantial presence in Australia, is currently suing the Egyptian government over a contract dispute in which they are claiming compensation for a very small rise in the appallingly low Egyptian minimum wage.

Affiliates will also be aware that the CHAFTA includes a Memorandum of Understanding, giving Chinese investors in projects valued over $150 million additional rights to bring in temporary migrant workers. Experience has already demonstrated that this sort of arrangement undermines local wages and conditions while doing nothing to protect or promote the wages and conditions of Chinese workers.

In view of the very serious implications of the CHAFTA for working people and their families, I request that there be a meeting of those affiliates who will be most affected in order to discuss a strategic response. 

The Acting Secretary, Com. E. Maiden moved the Executive Recommendation:-

“The correspondence be received and Unions NSW expresses its concern at the CHAFTA recently announced by the Federal Government.  Of particular concern is the secrecy surrounding the negotiations and the rumoured concessions that will give greater access to local jobs and the ability for corporations to sue the Australian government.

Unions NSW will convene a meeting of affiliated unions regarding this matter as soon as possible.”

Com. R. Fortescue seconded the resolution.

CARRIED

2.  From The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union:  The CFMEU is working with the assistance of the ACTU and Unions NSW to move towards having piling rigs classified under WHS Regulations 2011 Schedule 5: Registration of plant and plant designs.

Construction workers operating piling rigs are subject to the same associated risks as other high risk work plant. Deaths and injury whilst working around heavy plant remain very high in our in our industry. The CFMEU calls on WorkCover NSW and Safe Work Australia to immediately list piling rigs for registration and to ensure that operators are properly ticketed to operate this machinery. 

The CFMEU asks that this matter be placed on the agenda of the WHS Committee of Unions NSW and for Unions NSW to further support our calls for this important safety improvement.

The Acting Secretary, Com. E. Maiden moved the Executive Recommendation:-

The correspondence be received and Unions NSW supports the CFMEU to have the dangerous work of piling rigs reclassified in the WHS regulations.

Further, Unions NSW will refer this matter to the WHS Committee”.

Com. R. Mallia seconded the resolution.

CARRIED

3.  From Combined Retired Union Members Association (CRUMA)
In recent years the primary focus of CRUMA has been on policy advocacy around areas of pensions and superannuation. While this will continue to be an important area of our work, a recent meeting of CRUMA also resolved to connect with a broader group of retired union member associations.

This decision was in part prompted by the engagement by some of our members in the Local Union Community Councils program organised by Unions NSW.  In particular the CFMEU retirees campaigned in the State seat of Granville.  

We also believe that by having opportunities for our retired members to participate in union campaign activities closer to home, will broaden the base of retired members activisim.

The theme would be organising, recruitment and growth.  Given that many unions are facing baby-boomer retirements from their membership base, we wish to have a clear pathway for retirees to continue their union involvement.   We believe an activity based campaign focused for retired member associations through the LUCCS program could be a vital way to increase union campaign capacity and reinvigorate our respective associations. 

We have invited Unions NSW Community organiser Alison Rahill to attend our meetings, and Alison’s presentation was favorably received.

CRUMA hopes to build a stronger and closer relationship with Unions NSW organising and campaigns.

Your assistance would be appreciated in the form of venue – the atrium, auditorium, training rooms and a tour of the banner room.  Please advise if CRUMA needs to provide funding or if Unions NSW is able to sponsor the event.  To this end, we would request the assistance and support of Unions NSW.

On Monday 21st September 10am to 2pm we would greatly appreciate Unions NSW to host a meeting of all retired member associations in Trades Hall.

We would invite you to address the retired member associations meeting, and to have the Federal Election as a focus.

The Acting Secretary, Com. E. Maiden moved the Executive Recommendation:-

“The correspondence be received and Unions NSW thanks the CRUMA for their work in coordinating retired members groups across the union movement.  We would be delighted to host a meeting at Trades Hall and provide any other assistance such as publicising the event to all affiliates and providing guest speakers and resources.”

Com. M. Styli seconded the resolution.

CARRIED

4.  From Hiroshima Day Committee regarding the 70th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

After 70 years of the lesson of Hiroshima/Nagasaki is still clear today we must work to see that it never happens again.  ‘Hiroshima Never Again’ has been our consistent slogan for many years.  We are planning a solemn event this year to mark the 70th Anniversary of the use of the atomic bomb.  It is a time of mourning for the loss of many innocent lives not just at the time of August 6th and 9th 1945 but over the years as testing affected large areas of indigenous lands in this country and other parts of the world.

Nuclear weapons remain a curse and they have not been eliminated.  There is still the need to keep ever vigilant and persistent in campaigning for their abolition.  We particularly remember nuclear weapons on Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day and renew our pledge to rid the world of them.

To organise a successful 70th commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki we need financial assistance. 

Your past support has enabled us to keep Hiroshima Day as a focus for opposition to the continuing nuclear arms race, proliferation and the role of US bases.  We are particularly concerned about Australia’s cruel response to the refugees created by war which the Australian Government has supported.

March and Rally will be held Thursday 6th August at 6pm – Venue to be announced.

The Acting Secretary, Com. E. Maiden moved the Executive Recommendation:-

“The correspondence be received and Unions NSW will affiliate to the Hiroshima Day Committee and will publicise the August 6th Rally to affiliates and supporters via social media.”

Com. P. Kelly seconded the resolution.

CARRIED

REPORTS:

1.  Injured Workers Day – Friday 19th June

The Acting Secretary, Com. E. Maiden reported on the Injured Workers Day to be held Friday 19 June at Parramatta.  Com. E. Maiden reported tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of workers compensation cuts in NSW and a street barbeque will be held to protest against the cuts and discuss the campaign to restore justice.

The rally will be also focusing on the mooted changes to Comcare which could be a second blow to injured workers in NSW.  The worst aspects of the workers compensation schemes from around the country have been picked for the new Comcare scheme and employers will be allowed to opt out of their State systems, into this new national system.

NSW injured workers are on the verge of restoring some justice and these Comcare changes could see them take a further step backwards.

The Acting Secretary, Com. E. Maiden moved:-

 “That the report be received and noted”.

 Com. P. Reid seconded.

 CARRIED

 ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1.   INJURED WORKERS DAY- TOMORROW

Join us in Parramatta for a street BBQ to protest the cuts and discuss the campaign to restore justice
Friday 19th June, 11:30am at 31 Macquarie St, Parramatta
In 2012 NSW Liberal Government made the life of injured workers and their families harder.

2.   TONIGHT - Vinnies CEO Sleepout 10th Year – Rise to the Challenge
Thursday, 18th June from 6:00pm at Luna Park  Please donate to support the Union Team:  Mark Lennon, Alex Claassens,         Gerard Hayes, Gerard Dwyer, Bernie Smith and David Bliss (Newcastle)  by following the Vinnie's CEO Sleepout links on the               Unions NSW Website

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon left prior to the General meeting to participate in the Vinnies 2015 CEO Sleepout being held tonight at Luna Park

3TWU Better Buses - Family Fun Day -  Sunday 21st June
 from 10am   Bigge Park,   124 Bigge St, Liverpool
Guest Speaker:  Mark Lennon

4.   Penrith Valley Community Unions – ACTU Federal Election Campaign Briefing
Wednesday 24 June 6pm, Penrith RSL

5.   Central Coast Community Unions – ACTU Federal Election Campaign Briefing
Wednesday 1 July, 6pm, Breakers Country Club

 

MEETING ADJOURNED AT  5:50PM

Tagged: Minutes  /   News

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