UNIONS NSW COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES MEETING HELD THURSDAY, 5 MAY 2016
I
N TRADES HALL AUDITORIUM, SYDNEY AT 5:30PM.

The President, COm. J. Kiejda occupied the Chair.

OPENING OF THE MEETING:
The President, Com. J. Kiejda 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. Morey moved:-

"That the minutes from the meeting of 28th April as circulated be received".

Com. S. Turner seconded.

CARRIED

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

"That the minutes of the meeting of 28th April 2016 be adopted subject to amendment of the resolution attached to 
Executive Business Correspondence 1".

Com. P. Reid seconded.

CARRIED


CREDENTIALS:

From:   United Services Union advised that Darren Cameron will be replace Joel Conomos for the remainder of 2016 Unions NSW Affiliates meetings.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved: -

That the credential be received and the delegate welcomed.”

 Com. B. Parker seconded

CARRIED

APOLOGIES:   Apologies were received and accepted for: G. Kelly (USU), T. Costa, A. Gardiner, B. Smith.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

"That the apologies be received and accepted".

Com. R. Martin seconded.

CARRIED

QUESTION WITHOUT NOTICE:

Com. B. Holmes, NSW Nurses & Midwives Association asked the Secretary if he was aware that late last Friday the NSW Government released its report into nursing homes and found it does not believe it needs  a legislation in place to protect the elderly. That today, the Hon. Robert Brown MLC, Shooters & Fishers Party introduced legislation to reverse this decision. Further, are you aware in the Budget the Federal government will remove $1.2 billion in funding out of complex care in aged care facilities – provided by registered nurses in our nursing homes.

The Secretary said he was aware that the Liberals continue their attacks on aged care and they are governing for the 1% of society. Government has disdain for working people, no compassion. See how they treated seafarers. Unions NSW will stand with the NSWNMA to fight these attacks.  If there was ever a time for hoping someone else will step up, it has passed.  We all must ensure we are speaking union in our workplace and community every day.  This election is the biggest fight and it is beginning now. We must hold capital to account.  7 people hold the same wealth as 4.3 million Australians. It’s not right. Time to be active Unions NSW is ready and affiliates are ready.  

Dr John Kaye, NSW Green MP

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey said it was with regret he announced the sad passing of Dr John Kaye, NSW Greens MP, NTEU member on 2nd May.  A Motion of Condolence will be held at Council in two weeks - Thursday 19 May.

GUEST SPEAKERS:

Dr Leung Chi Yuen, Department of Applied Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

David Barrow of the Sydney Alliance introduced Dr Leung Chi Yuen to address affiliates on the umbrella movement in Hong Kong.

Dr Yuen said he is a member of the social work union. He said in Hong Kong there is one country but two systems.  Hong Kong citizens want to vote for their government – but the Hong Kong Government denies them this right.

As a result the Occupy Movement (mainly students) held protests. The students were beaten by police and the citizens were appalled. So 280,000 people occupied the streets around the Government buildings. This started the umbrella movement.

Why was it called the umbrella movement? An umbrella is not a weapon and people only had an umbrella to protect themselves.  Trade unions and community groups all came together to occupy the area and provide support for students. 

The Government haven’t promised universal suffrage.  Umbrella movement is a new imagining of a social movement in Hong Kong.

Other speakers talked about the feeling of self-empowerment from the umbrella movement. If people walk alone they will fear, so we need to walk with them. Christian politicians and churches also got involved, conducting prayers on the street and encouraging more church members to attend to lend their support. Many young people think the only way to make difference is to win election in Hong Kong this year. Hong Kong Citizens is one of organisations involved in the struggle. Dr Yuen thanked Unions NSW for their solidarity.

The Secretary thanked the speakers and noted that Unions NSW had expressed their solidarity with the umbrella movement at the time of the protests. He noted it was an important struggle and one that Unions NSW would continue to support. 

EXECUTIVE BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE:

1.  From United Services Union:   The USU commends and honours former Deputy National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, Mick Doleman for bravely telling the story of the sinking of the M.V. Blythe Star in October 1973. For those that did not see the television program you have surely missed a great Australian real life drama. It was the story of the Blythe Star which was sailing from Hobart to King Island with a crew of 10 and a cargo of super phosphate. During the night the small freighter listed to starboard throwing several crew, including 18 year old Mick Doleman from their bunks. As seen in the television recreation of the incident the ship was taking on water so all 10 crew members had to abandon ship, and made it safely to the life-raft before the ship sunk. The alarm for a search was not raised for 2 days after the ship sunk, and for the following 9 days the crew drifted on often rolling seas enduring extreme cold. During this period one crew member sadly died. Eventually they drifted into a bay and the 9 remaining crew made it to shore, only to have 2 more crew members pass away probably due to exhaustion and hypothermia. Eventually the other 7 crew members were found walking along a bush track, but much of the story has remained hidden till now. 

Now 42 years on Mick Doleman has courageously told the story as the last remaining survivor. An outcome of this tragedy was the establishment of the AusREP Ship Reporting System which tracks ship’s movements more closely. The Inquiry into this ship’s sinking also led to the installation of the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon on all Australian ships, thus making the seafaring industry safer on our coasts. 

In closing we believe it was most fitting to have this tale of Australian mateship and bravery screened on 1 May 2016, being May Day, the international day of the worker and their Unions.

We are also glad that Mick was able to be re-united with his teenage sweetheart Joanie, as we understand they have been happily married for 40 years, and Joanie, as a member of the USU team, also contributes to the Union movement.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

The correspondence be received and that Unions NSW also commends and honours Mick Doleman for his decision to go on the record in relation to the Blythe Star disaster.  The program revealed much about the tragedy that had previously not been brought to light and hopefully gave some closure to the families of the 3 men who did not survive.  

The safety improvements introduced following the sinking have no doubt saved many lives.”

 

Com. Paul Reid seconded the resolution.  

CARRIED   

2.  From Public Service Association (PSA):  regarding their successful strike held by non-academic staff at NSW TAFE last Thursday.

The Government’s proposals include:

  • An increase in weekly working hours for 80% of the workforce from 35 to 36.25 hours, for no extra pay
  • A refusal to pay a back-dated pay increase, despite not receiving a rise since July 2014
  • Removal of Rostered Days Off

Further, there is no agreement in place which protects staff that transfer to the new classification structure from having their salary downgraded.

Also, there is no agreement to protect current permanent positions from being converted to permanent part year with up to 22 weeks of forced unpaid leave.

The attack on TAFE worker’s conditions is made possible via the NSW Government’s “Smart and Skilled” reforms – forcing TAFE to compete with dodgy private providers who are only in it for a quick buck.  The competitive funding arrangement is only leading to lower quality vocational education in NSW, as quality staff, providing quality services, supporting quality educational outcomes, makes way for profitability.

Although the strike was by non-academic staff the attacks are on all TAFE staff, academic and non-academic.

PSA ask that Unions NSW and affiliates support the PSA and other TAFE unions and their members in TAFE suffering these attacks and support for the industrial action taken.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

“The correspondence be received and that Unions NSW supports the industrial action by TAFE staff and opposes the Government’s proposals that represent a serious attack on wages and conditions for TAFE workers.

The decimation of our TAFE system is an indictment on the NSW Government.  We call on all affiliates to join with us in supporting the TAFE workers and opposing these attacks”.

Com. Paul Reid seconded the resolution.  

CARRIED

3.  From Construction, Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU):  Congratulates Unions NSW in assisting affiliates with their activities this week to support the MUA’s Jobs Embassy. Especially thanks to Mary Yaager and her team for assisting us in organising our delegations.

It was fortunate that the activities coincided with the Turnbull Liberals Budget. All affiliates are aware that the Budget is just a continuation of the Government’s war on workers and ordinary Australians. Delivering massive cuts in healthcare and government services and delivering tax cuts to a corporate sector that already does not pay its fair share. Nothing in the Budget addresses real job growth or positive visions for a fair Australia. The arrogance of this Government was epitomised by the actions of Mathias Cormann, the Finance Minister, who when down on the Parliament lawns in Canberra to do a TV interview, turned his back on the sacked seafarers and all of us present showing solidarity to the sacked seafarers. At least we made such a loud protest he had to move his entourage and sadly security guards brandishing semi-automatic machine guns were seen in the vicinity.

Clearly, we are at a defining moment where the result on July 2 will determine the course of this country, either as a fair and equal society with a Government genuinely interested in the wellbeing of the nation, or one that delivers for its big end of town mates.

It was inspirational that affiliates made an effort to support the jobs embassy and the sacked seafarers whose struggle is symbolic of the struggles of so many workers in Australia today and was important in sending a strong message to all politicians that we will not be silenced.  

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

The correspondence be received and that Unions NSW thanks all affiliates, retired members and other activists who supported the MUA’s Jobs Embassy this week.  The Embassy shows the importance of continuing to highlight the plight of sacked seafarers and the other injustices that are all too common under this Government.”

 Com. R. Mallia seconded the resolution.                       

CARRIED

4.  From The NSW Nurses & Midwives Association:   regarding the campaign launch by NSWNMA and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation - “If you don’t care, we can’t care” -  in the lead up to this federal election.  As health professionals, our message to the federal government and all parties is: Invest in the quality health needs of all Australians and provide accessible and affordable universal health.

With the powerful imagery of nurses with their hands tied, the bound wrists signify how the government’s $57 billion health cuts, cuts to Medicare bulk-billing incentives and rebate freezes, lack of funding and appropriate staffing in aged care and threats to penalty rates all culminate in putting excessive strain on nurses and midwives and threaten the quality of care they can provide.

This election, we are asking the Coalition, the Labor Party and the Greens to commit to four key funding and policy announcements in health and aged care:

  • Reinstate the $57 billion health cuts
  • Fix aged care by requiring at least one registered nurse on site in nursing homes and support nurse to resident staffing ratios
  • Maintain penalty rates
  • Support Medicare by reversing the rebate freeze which forces GPs to pass the cost onto patients, and reverse the $650 million funding cuts that will force increased costs for x-rays and other diagnostic tests.  

Beginning in May and till the end of June, we will run a paid media campaign in NSW which includes outdoor, radio and television advertising to support our workplace and community campaigning.

We ask Unions NSW and affiliates to support this campaign by helping us to raise awareness in marginal electorates and with the wider union community through the Build A Better Future campaign and the Local Union and Community Campaign groups.

The TV advertisements and radio advertisements were played. 

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

 “The correspondence be received and Unions NSW congratulates the NSWNMA on their “If you don’t care, we can’t care” campaign.

Due to the high level of respect for health professionals in society, they are invaluable messengers for so many of the issues that are central to the Build a Better Future Campaign.   Unions NSW supports the campaign and the NSWNMA for developing and funding it.  We will raise awareness of the campaign through our BBF & LUCC activities and encourage all affiliates to do the same.”

 Com. Brett Holmes seconded the resolution.  

CARRIED BY ACCLAMATION

REPORTS:

1.  May Day Toast and May Day Parade

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey reported on last Friday’s May Day Toast held at Balmain Workers Club and said it was a great toast and well attended, with many young people attending to toast the evening.

May Day Parade and Family Fun Day

The Secretary said this year was an overwhelming success, affiliates and the community were well represented and was the largest parade for decades.  The Day was a high water mark for the Parade. We will build on the day in future years.  Next year will be a bigger event with shorter speeches, more bands, extra coffee carts and more of the family fun day feel.  We commend Coms. Paul McAleer, Mary Yaager and the May Day Committee for all their support in organising such a successful May Day March and family fun day this year.  The Secretary thanked Councillor Linda Scott for her assistance. Unions NSW have committed to support the event and committee.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

That the report be received and noted”.

 Com.  G. Derrick seconded.

2.  Jobs Embassy Week of Action Canberra - 2nd - 6th May

Com. R. Mallia addressed affiliates regarding the Job Embassy held in Canberra during the week. 

The Jobs Embassy followed on from the sacking of the crews of the Portland and CSL Melbourne, where Australian seafarers lost their jobs to foreign workers being exploited on wages as low as $2 per hour. All whilst the Abbott and Turnbull Governments sit back and do nothing to support Australian workers.

Unions NSW organised a great week of activities and did the NSW union movement proud. They provided fantastic support for the MUA and seafarers who have seen the destruction of yet another Australian industry and failure of the government to defend Aussie jobs.

The major issues highlighted were fat cat tax havens, public sector job losses,  the ABCC and safe rates, parental leave campaign, the Government's reward to Sarah McNaughton, general opposition to the government and conservative agenda and the promotion of an ever increasing unequal society.

The Embassy provided a good opportunity for Labor and other politicians in opposition to show their support. Ricky Muir should be particularly thanked. The retired members were fantastic as always - some going down twice.

The week was a very successful week and much appreciated by the MUA and their members. It demonstrated the strength in unity of our movement and as we move into the guts of the federal election campaign, it was a successful springboard to the upcoming election campaign activities.

Thanks to Mark and Mary and the Unions NSW team for supporting all affiliate efforts. 

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

"That the report be received and noted".

Com. D. McKinley seconded.

CARRIED

3.  Campaign Update
The Secretary,  Com. M. Morey reported on the campaign and the protests held last week outside MPs offices to deliver signed petitions by local residents. The campaign is now in full swing.  The phone banking will commence this week with a national telethon to be held Saturday 14 May. Everyone was encouraged to sign up for a shift.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved: -

That the report be received and noted”.

Com. G. Derrick seconded.

CARRIED

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1.  ACTU Organising Works
This is invaluable program has been servicing unions in their organising efforts for more than 20 years, and has now been revitalised with a new curriculum. We are calling for expressions of interest for programs running ins NSW, Qld & Vic.  This program will be composed of ten courses beginning in July 2016 and running to September 2017.

For further information please go to the ACTU website.

2.  Mother’s Day Classic
Sunday 8 May 2015 – 6am Domain, Art Gallery Road.  Walk or Run it doesn’t matter how you walk or run it just matters why. Our team so far have raised $3415.  Emma Maiden and Rita Mallia will be running again so please either join them or sponsor them. 

3.  APHEDA – Raffle 2016
Support the Union Aid Abroad APHEDA raffle tickets available online or at Unions NSW reception.  Raffle will be drawn Thursday 16 June. 

4.  Goulburn candidates Forum
Friday 6 May 2016   6:30pm to 8:30pm -  Goulburn Soldiers Club

5.  Retired Union Members Campaign Meeting  Monday 9 May 10am – 12pm  Trades Hall Training Room One

6.  Farewell Paul Doughty, Unions NSW
Invitation to affiliates to join us for drinks in the Executive Board room to farewell Paul and wish him well as he leaves Unions NSW to commence a position with the NTEU.

MEETING ADJOURNED AT 6: 30PM

 

 

 

Tagged: Minutes  /   News

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