UNIONS NSW COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES MEETING HELD THURSDAY, 4th JUNE 2015
IN TRADES HALL AUDITORIUM, SYDNEY AT 5:30PM.

The Acting President, Com. R.  Mallia occupied the Chair.

PRESENT:  M. Lennon [Secretary], M. Morey, E. Maiden [Assistant Secretaries]. 

 

 

OPENING OF THE MEETING:
The Acting President, Com. R. Mallia 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 21st May, 2015 as circulated be received”.

Com. B. Smith seconded.

CARRIED

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the minutes of the meeting of 21th May 2015 be adopted”.

 Com. G. Derrick seconded.

CARRIED

CREDENTIALS:

From:  The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association:- appointing Neale Dawson in place of Wayne Baxter for tonight’s meeting.

From:  The Australian Workers’ Union:- appointing Scott Bean in place of Paul Noack for tonight’s meeting.

From:  The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association:- revising delegation for the remainder of 2015:  B.Holmes, J. Kiejda,   W.Baxter, M.Bradford, P. Byrne, K. Dalton, M. Kearin, L. Kremmer, R.Martin, P.Milard, T,O’Grady, D.Ravlich, H. Rebeiro, L.Rydge, J.Roden, N.Scilinato, E.Ulm, M.Whaites, A.Whelan, M.Wright.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

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

 Com. Grahame Kelly seconded.

CARRIED

APOLOGIES: Apologies were received and accepted for: M. Issanchon, R. Fortescue, J. Dixon, Graeme Kelly (USU), P. Reid, E. Cody. 

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

“That the apologies be received and accepted”.

Com. Graham Kelly (CFMEU) seconded.

CARRIED

REPORT:

1.   Unions NSW Proposed Property Sale – 366 Summer St, Orange.

Unions NSW owns a shop front at 366 Summer Street Orange. Historically the shopfront served the needs of the district trades and labour council, and later the Australian Workers Union, but has not been used for trade union purposes for numbers of years.

The shopfront is currently tenanted by a private individual as a home and is not used for commercial purposes. Unions NSW receives a modest rental income for the property.The property serves no trade union purpose is in need of ongoing maintenance and renovation.

The 23rd April 2015 meeting of the Finance and Governance Committee of Unions NSW carried the following resolution:

“That the Finance and Governance Committee:

Authorise the Trustees to sell the Orange property at auction through LJ Hooker, subject to approval by the Executive and Council in accordance with the Rules.

Authorise the Trustees to set a Reserve price”

In accordance with the Rules, 4 weeks’ notice of the intention to sell the property was provided to affiliates on 4 May 2015.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

That the report be received”.

Com. B. Smith seconded.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

That the report be received and adopted and that the Trustees be authorised to sell the Orange property at auction through LJ Hooker. The Trustees are further authorised to set a Reserve price.”

Com. B. Holmes seconded.

CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

GUEST SPEAKER:-

The Acting President, Com. R. Mallia acknowledged the injured workers present and introduced The Hon. Fred Nile MLC. of the Christian Democratic Party and invited Rev. Nile to address delegates.

Rev. Nile said he had been having a number of discussions with injured workers since the 2012 cuts. He said it was distressing to hear their stories.

He noted that last night poles and wires legislation had passed. He noted Unions NSW had requested a number of amendments regarding the future of employees and 22 amendments were passed. This included a 5 year employment guarantee for employees, protection of provision of apprenticeships and the transfer of leave entitlements and super.  Mr Nile said he was pleased to have been able to achieve the outcome and he thanked Com. Mark Lennon for his assistance.   A few items didn’t make it but most were achieved.

Rev. Nile said he was happy to form agreement with Unions NSW regarding  workers compensation.  When he passed the changes he was told the scheme would collapse without them. He accepted the Government’s argument, yet not the scheme is in surplus and it is time for the Government to reverse the cuts. The system needs balance.

5000 seriously injured workers have been cut off weekly payments. 20,000 have been cut off medical costs. He wants to reverse that and work with Unions NSW to achieve it. 

The political strategy will involve Rev. Nile moving a Parliamentary Inquiry with strong terms of reference where injured workers can tell their stories, appear and make recommendations.  Rev. Nile is sure we can get unanimous recommendations and pressure the Government to implement the report.  Rev. Nile called on members of both Houses to work together to implement the 12 Guiding Principles for workers compensation reform.  Rev. Nile said we need to restore justice and dignity to injured workers. He was happy to be re-elected for another 8 years to work on these matters and he also supported the removal of discrimination against aged workers. 

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon thanked the Hon. Fred Nile for his address.

Com. M. Lennon thanked Mr Nile for his work on the electricity privatisation. He noted the union movement would have preferred no sale but in the circumstances wanted to achieve the best position for workers. He was very impressed those workers will receive a 5 year job guarantee.  Com. Lennon thanked affiliates and Com. Mark Morey for all their work in achieving this outcome. 

 

Com. Lennon noted that he first spoke with Mr Nile regarding workers compensation in 1993. 

He said there is no doubt, whatever else you think about workers compensation, the 2012 changes were rushed through and botched.  This must be addressed.  If an injured workers need to see a doctor they want their medical expenses covered.  The Government has shifted this cost from employers to Australian taxpayers.

Com. Lennon welcomed Rev. Nile’s commitments regarding workers compensation. He also thanked Rev. Nile for the strength of his commitment regarding public holidays and trading hours.

Com. Lennon thanked Shay Deguara and Rowen Kernebone for all their work.

Media Release - March 12th 2015 - Rev. Hon. Fred Nile ED., L.Th., M.L.C.

Reinstatement of Workers’ Compensation

The Rev Fred Nile MLC, Leader of the Christian Democratic Party, strongly supports the other NSW Crossbench parties who have indicated their support for the reinstatement of medical services for injured workers and to open negotiations for the retrospectivity of compensation.

“It appears we were unaware of some important facts and I believe it is in the best interest of the NSW Government to right the wrong done to genuine people who have been disenfranchised by the outcome of the Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2012.” said Rev Nile

More than 5000 injured workers have lost their workers’ compensation benefits since the NSW State Government overhauled the scheme in 2012, a new study has found. Up to 20,000 workers with long-term injuries have also lost their entitlements to medical benefits as a result of the 2012 cuts.  Many have been forced onto Centrelink benefits and have had to go without medical treatment for their injuries.

“The Christian Democratic Party hopes that this will be a priority upon the resumption of Parliament after the Election later this month” said Rev Fred Nile”.

 Rev. Hon. Fred Nile ED., L.Th., M.L.C.

 Union Aid Abrod - APHEDA Raffle Draw:

Kate Lee, CEO, APHEDA announced the 2015 APHEDA raffle would be drawn by David Taylor from Turner and Freeman Lawyers. Both spoke briefly and noted $90,000 had been raised. David drew the raffle winners.

EXECUTIVE BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE:

1.  From Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU):- regarding their campaign against the Abbott Government. The Government is seeking to cut the real wages, conditions and rights of 160,000 Commonwealth public sector workers. This is on top of 17,000 job cuts that have occurred since the federal election.

The CPSU members have commenced industrial action and will be holding half-day stoppages around the country in June.

On Thursday 18 June there will be mass meetings in Sydney, Parramatta, Wollongong and Newcastle

CPSU seeks the support of Unions NSW and affiliates in their campaign and to attend the stop work meetings held on:

 Thursday 18 June to show solidarity with CPSU members:

Sydney CBD -       2pm   Sydney Masonic Centre

Parramatta -        2.15pm Parramatta Town Hall

Wollongong -         2pm   Wollongong Town Hall

Newcastle -           2.15pm Newcastle Town Hall

Albury/ Wodonga 2pm   Albury Entertainment Centre

Friday 19th June

Coffs Harbour       2pm   Coffs Harbour Ex-Services Club 

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

“That the correspondence be received and Unions NSW supports the CPSU in their campaign against the Abbott Government and their cuts to public sector jobs and refusal to reach a fair agreement for wages and conditions. 

 

Unions NSW will publicise the CPSU stop work meetings on 18 June and encourages all affiliates to send delegations in solidarity.”

Com. M. Donnelly seconded the resolution.

CARRIED

Com. M. Donnelly spoke to the correspondence.

2.  From The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA): regarding their members at Manly Fast Ferry who are engaged in a campaign for an Enterprise Agreement. Manly Fast Ferries had been granted a seven year contract by the NSW Government to operate a high-speed Ferry service between Circular Quay and Manly, commencing on 1 April 2015.

To date, the parties have met on only two occasions since the Union first requested negotiations on 13 April 2015, despite regular requests from the MUA for the parties to schedule meetings.

Repeatedly, the company finds excuses as to why it’s unavailable to meet and negotiate. On 20 May 2015, the MUA sought an order for a protected action ballot, so as to conduct an Industrial campaign in support the members claims for an Enterprise Agreement. The Ballot Order was rejected by Commissioner Cambridge, on the basis that insufficient meetings had occurred, despite an extensive documented history of attempts to arrange meetings.

The company has refused to meet with the Union to establish a process for election of Union Health and Safety Representatives, in breach of their obligations under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW).

In addition, Manly Fast Ferries has stood down two Delegates and two activists over supposedly derogatory comments made about the company on a private Facebook messenger service. One of the MUA activists does not have a Facebook account and was not part of the message stream.

The MUA is seeking support from affiliated unions to send a strong message to Manly Fast Ferry, that they stop the persecutions and commence good faith negotiations. 

A rally to support the workers at Manly Fast Ferry will be held tomorrow outside Wharf No. 6 at Circular Quay on Friday 5th June 2015 to let management know that enough is enough!  We urge affiliates and their members to attend and support the workers from Manly Fast Ferries.

We urge affiliates and their members to attend and support the workers from Manly Fast Ferries.

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

 “That the correspondence be received and Unions NSW supports the MUA in their campaign for an enterprise agreement with Manly Fast Ferries. Unions NSW condemns Manly Fast Ferries for failing to meet with the MUA to progress negotiations, for failing to allow for the election of WHS representatives and for taking unwarranted disciplinary action against members. Affiliates are encouraged to attend the MUA rally tomorrow at 5pm at Circular Quay.”

Com. Genevieve Kelly seconded the resolution.

CARRIED

3.  From Australian Manufacturers Workers’ Union (AMWU):  The AMWU and the Unions NSW WHS Committee draws the attention of delegates to WorkCover’s provision of a blanket exemption for audiometric testing by Persons Conducting a Business Undertaking (PCBU) of workers in NSW as reported in the NSW Gazette 126, page 4707 on 19th December 2015 without consulting workers or their representative bodies ie Unions NSW and Unions. 

The AMWU request Unions NSW Executive/Council write to Minister Perrottet (and the Shadow Minister) asking for a technical and an evidentiary explanation for the granting of such an exemption that affects all workers in the NSW WorkCover jurisdiction. In association with that ‘explanation’, the Minister be requested to advise why consultation of a tripartite nature was not implemented for such a significant impost on workers in NSW.

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

“The correspondence be received and Unions NSW will write to the Minister as requested.”

 Com. Dave Henry seconded the resolution.

CARRIED

REPORTS:

1.  Paid Parental Leave

Assistant Secretary, Com. E. Maiden reported on a snap action rally held on Monday outside Joe Hockey’s North Sydney office. The action was to “spit the dummy” about the Government’s decision to cut Paid Parental Leave such that every week of paid leave an employer provides, reduces access to the Government Scheme by one week. These cuts are a blow to parents who are trying to maximise their time off work with their new baby and they run counter to the internationally recognised minimum standard for parental leave of 26 weeks. The rally was well attended and particular thanks went to the TWU, the IEU, the NSWTF, the NSWNMA and United Voice. Anna Uren from the NSWTF and Georgia Potter-Butter from WEL and United Voice addressed the rally. Cameron Ritchie kindly dressed in a large baby suit and protesters were given giant dummies. The protesters sang the Hockey Pockey. There is an online petition opposing the cuts on the Unions NSW website and actions will now be organised outside other MPs offices.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the report be received and noted”.

 Com. A. Claassens seconded.

CARRIED

2.   Poles and Wires

Assistant Secretary, Com. M. Morey, reported on the privatisation of the poles and wires that had been passed by Parliament the previous night. The Upper House Report into the privatisation had been handed down the week prior and since then the impacted unions had been lobbying hard. The USU with the Shooters. The ETU and Com. Lennon with Rev. Nile. Amendments were secured to get the workers a 5 year job guarantee (accept for those to be made redundant by the cuts to energy prices announced recently), protection of minimum entitlements, the enterprise agreement in place for 5 years, protections re transfer of location. Disappointingly a transfer package for the employees was unable to be negotiated.  The way the four unions worked together to get the best outcome possible for their members was impressive and must be commended. Com. Morey commended the package to delegates.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

" That the report be received.”.

 Com. P. Reid seconded.

 “That the report be adopted.”

 Com. P. Reid seconded.

CARRIED

3.  We did it lets celebrate – Central Coast

Com. Narelle Rich spoke of the Central Coast Community Union Alliance celebration held on Sunday 24th May where 120 members celebrated their work and involvement throughout the State Election Campaign.  During the 8 weeks there were 2 Public Forums held, wobble boarding, numerous street stalls, 8 weeks of station handouts and 5 major door knock blitzes with over 1800 conversations had and hundreds of pledges signed.  There was also a strong volunteer presence during pre-poll and on election day. 

At the celebration event 3 new Labor MPs attended and thanked everyone for their support and acknowledged their influence in getting them elected.  They also re-committed themselves to the Jobs Rights and Services pledge they had signed during the campaign.

Due to their hard work privatisation was a key issue for locals in deciding how to vote. The campaign showed people are strongest when they work together. 

At the celebration people stayed till late in the afternoon. Everyone enjoyed themselves, met new people and are ready to toss out Abbott and unseat the local Libs.

Com. Rich thanked Mark Lennon, Mark Morey, Emma Maiden for attending on the day and gave a special thank you to Salim Barbar.

 The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the report be received and noted.”

 Com. B. Smith seconded.

CARRIED

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1.   2015 election: Did the union campaign make a difference?

Dr Shaun Wilson and Dr Ben Spies-Butcher, political scientists from Macquarie University Department of Sociology, will present preliminary statistical analysis of the election results. Other speakers will present and lead a discussion.

3.30pm, Thursday 11 June Executive Boardroom, Trades Hall

2.   Public Meeting - Cuba, the U.S. and the Future of the Revolution with special guest speaker, Kenia Serrano, Member of Cuba's National Assembly and President of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples

7.30 pm Saturday, 6 June 2015  Teachers’ Federation – 23 - 33 Mary Street, Surry Hills

Saturday, 6 June 2015 at the NSW Teacher’s Federation

11.30am  -  MEET THE NEW CUBAN AMBASSADOR 

Report from Cuban Ambassador to Australia, José Manuel, and  discussion  -  Australia Cuba Friendship Society – Sydney www.sydney-acfs.org

3.   Vigil to Commemorate the KENTEX Fire Victims

Thursday 11th June at 6pm to 7pm - George Street next to the Town Hall steps

On May 13 2015, more than 72 Filipino workers, most of whom were female, died in the worst factory fire in Philippine history in Valenzuela City within Metro Manila. The management of Kentex Manufacturing Corporation, maker of local slippers and flip-flops (thongs), was discovered to have been violating occupational health and safety standards.

4.   Vinnies CEO Sleepout 10th Year – Rise to the Challenge - Thursday, 18th June from 6:00pm at Luna Park

To register to join or to donate to the Group go to the Vinnies CEO Sleepout Website www.ceosleepout.org.au  click on CEO’s then click on groups and find NSW Unions.  

5.   The TWU has recently launched a campaign for a Better Bus industry in NSW, to make sure that bus drivers can do their jobs safely, free of assault and harassment and be fairly paid for their work.

Better Buses Campaign - Family Fun Day - Sunday 21st June from 10am - Bigge Park, 124 Bigge St, Liverpool

6.   Next Week - Jeff Shaw Memorial Lecture – 11th June 2015

Presented by The Hon Phillip Boulten SC  Former President of the NSW Bar Association

6:00pm Trades Hall Auditorium

Following the lecture finger food and drinks will be served in the Atrium.

RSVP to Mary O’Donoghue via email modonoghue@unionsnsw.org.au

MEETING ADJOURNED AT  6:10PM

Tagged: Minutes  /   News

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