UNIONS NSW COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES MEETING HELD THURSDAY, 5th NOVEMBER 2015 
IN TRADES HALL AUDITORIUM, SYDNEY 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 29th October 2015 as circulated be received”.

Com. J. Wright seconded.

CARRIED

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

That the minutes of the meeting of 29th October 2015 be adopted”.

Com. P. Noack seconded.

CARRIED

CREDENTIALS:

From: The Textile Clothing & Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) appointing Tracy LeFevre in place of Mark Edwards for tonight’s meeting.

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

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

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

Com. M. Gatfield seconded.

CARRIED

APOLOGIES:  Apologies were received and accepted for:  M. Issanchon, R. Collison,  A. Gardiner, J. Roden, P. Reid B. Smith, J. Kiejda, M. Styli.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the apologies be received and accepted”

Com B. Holmes seconded.

CARRIED

EXECUTIVE CORRESPONDENCE:

 

1.  From The National tertiary Education Union (NTEU):- advising that the federal government has shelved its plans to slash university funding by 20 per cent and force up student fees through deregulation — at least for 2016.

The new Minister of Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, announced he would not be re-submitting the Government’s higher education bill to the Parliament this year and will instead undertake "further consultation with stakeholders".

This comes after the legislation was twice defeated in the Senate thanks to a strong union and community campaign, and despite former Education Minister Christopher “The Fixer” Pyne vowing to see it through regardless of community opposition.

In acknowledging this latest win, NTEU would like to thank Unions NSW, affiliated unions and the ACTU, for their steadfast support of the defend our universities campaign since the 2014 federal budget.

The federal government’s decision to defer this loathed legislation is because of the strength of community support for our public universities and staunch belief in a fundamental principle — that everyone should be able to attend university, irrespective of their background and bank balance.

The NTEU members deeply appreciate the encouragement of the rest of the trade union movement and are proud that together we have now knocked back this legislation for a third time. Every action we took, every conversation we had, helped us defend our universities. Our campaign to demonstrate the importance of higher education is now firmly entrenched in the minds of the public, and it has forced the government to stop for now.

But this doesn't mean it is over. Putting this legislation on the shelf means it is delayed, not dead. In fact, the Coalition are simply saying this change is because the Senate would not pass the legislation and it was too late for action in 2016 — not that there is a fundamental issue with the substance of their proposals.

In his speech, Senator Birmingham committed to finding a “sustainable basis for funding a world class education system”. We know the union movement will continue to work with us to ensure that this means properly funded education and research that builds our social and economic prosperity — not just finding new ways to cut government funding and shift the cost of university on to staff and students.

The people charged with the management of our universities over this period have shown themselves to be totally lacking in any credibility or willingness to defend our public universities and their support for the government’s economic rationalist mantras has been appalling. Vice Chancellors are now splitting in their support for the government package, simply from their own self-interest.

Where to now? NTEU members are calling on the Government to lend substance to the rhetorical flourish of their announcement by:

  • Taking an honest and transparent policy on support for higher education to the next election. 
  • Opening meaningful discussions with staff — not just Vice Chancellors (management) on ways to ensure sustainable high quality universities for our future.
  • We will continue to campaign for these things and remain committed to ensuring all governments understand the importance of properly funded public education.

Today we celebrate! But we have no illusions about the conservative government’s agenda to Americanise our universities by any means. We stand ready to campaign against the next attacks and know that we have the support of the trade union movement to defend our quality, public universities.

Unions NSW note NTEU appreciation of their support to defend our universities and commit to oppose any future attempt by the federal government to slash federal funding to universities; force students to pay exorbitant fees; and transfer public money for universities to private colleges.

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

 “The correspondence be received and Unions NSW congratulate the NTEU on the success of the campaign to stop the Federal Government from slashing university funding by 20% and forcing up student fees through deregulation.

 Unions NSW also acknowledges and thanks affiliates and the ACTU for their support for the NTEU campaign since the 2014 federal budget.

 Further, Unions NSW calls on the Federal Government to adhere to their recent commitments to.

 1.    take an honest and transparent policy on support for higher education to the next election; and

 2.    open meaningful discussions with staff, not just Vice Chancellors and management, on ways to ensure sustainable high quality universities for our future.”

Com. Genevieve Kelly seconded.

CARRIED

From The Transport Workers Union (TWU):- The TWU members, their families and community to invite affiliates to join us for a Safe Rates Briefing.

 

Some affiliates would be aware, in June the TWU conducted safety inspections in a range of companies in the Coles supply chain. The results were shocking with hundreds of fatigue breaches topping the list. We wrote to Coles and asked them to work with us to deal with this critical threat to all road users – they have refused!

 

This briefing will be a chance for transport workers to share how they are fighting back against the retailers attack on their lives and jobs and ask the community to support them.

 Date:            12th   November 2015

Time:           9:30am

Venue:         Novotel Parramatta- 350 Church St Parramatta

 If affiliates would like more information they are welcome to contact Michael Aird or Alison Rudman on 9912 0700.

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

 “The correspondence be received and Unions NSW congratulates the TWU on the continuing success of their Safe Rates Campaign in exposing safety breaches while seeking to resolve systemic safety issues through constructive engagement with employers.

 

Further, Unions NSW encourages affiliates to attend the TWU’s Safe Rates Briefing at 9:30am on Thursday 12 November, 2015 at the Novotel, 350 Church St, Parramatta.

Additional information can be sought from either Alison Rudman or Michael Aird on 9912 0700.”

Com. M. Aird seconded.

CARRIED

3.  From The United Services Union (USU):- regarding a Rally to be held at Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney on Wednesday 18 November 2015.

The Rally relates to the current issue of Amalgamations/Forced Amalgamations of NSW Councils.  USU delegate Raffael Catanzariti addressed council on the Forced Council Amalgamations.

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

“The correspondence be received and Unions NSW condemns the Baird government for forcibly seeking to amalgamate NSW Councils based on the dubious Independent Pricing and regulatory Tribunal (IPART) report.

Unions NSW notes the report which found 60% of councils, including Sydney City Council, has been criticised as a process of “reverse engineering by a Government which had already made up its mind”.

Further, Unions NSW encourages all affiliates to attend the rally outside Parliament House, Macquarie St, on Wednesday 18 November 2015.”

Com. R. Catanzariti seconded.

CARRIED

4.  From NSW Nurses & Midwives Association (NSWNMA):- regarding the major car parking issue at RPA.   The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) is seeking input from the Unions NSW Executive for a coordinated union campaign regarding major car parking issues arising at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) in Camperdown.

The NSWNMA is currently engaging its nursing and midwifery members at RPAH who have been impacted by recent changes to staff car parking arrangements at the Camperdown site and are appalled at the ‘last minute’ consultations by Sydney Local Health District management.

On Monday (2 November), Sydney Local Health District returned operation of two car parking locations to Macquarie International Health Clinic, owned by Dr Thomas Wenkart. Macquarie International Health Clinic has increased the daily car parking rate and confirmed the current 1,200 staff parking spaces (shared by 2,000 staff across a 24hr period) will be halved to 600 spaces over the next 3 to 6 months.

This decision will exacerbate parking issues already present around the RPAH campus and will further result in staff competing with patients and community members to obtain secure parking. Given the shift work required, public transport is not always a feasible option for health and hospital staff. There are no facilities for staff to shower and change if they chose to cycle to work. Staff were also discouraged from wearing their NSW Health uniform uncovered on public transport.

Sydney Local Health District management has acknowledged it has an obligation to provide appropriate car parking for staff and is considering long term options for building its own car park however, no viable site has been disclosed.

The NSWNMA proposed a coordinated cross-union campaign to raise public awareness about this issue, with the long term objective of accessible and affordable car parking for up to 3,500 staff. In the short term, we must call on Sydney Local Health District to facilitate safe and timely transport options for staff travelling to and from RPAH.

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

“The correspondence be received and Unions NSW condemns Sydney Local Health District (SLHD)  management for failing to meet its obligation to provide adequate and safe parking options for Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) in Camperdown.

Instead of maintaining 1200 staff parking spaces, shared by 2000 staff over a 24 hour period, the Health District has returned operation of two car parking locations to a private operator who has increased the cost of parking while also halving the number of car parking spots which will be maintained for staff.

Further, Unions NSW convene a meeting of affected affiliates with the long term objective of securing accessible and affordable car parking for up to 2,500 staff while in the short term ensuring SLHD facilitate safe and timely transport options for staff travelling to and from work at RPAH.”

Com. B. Holmes seconded.

CARRIED

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

 “The correspondence be received and Unions NSW  acknowledge the work of the PSA and its 400 members working in the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) for the four hour stop work to protest the privatisation of services. 

 

Further protests are set down for 20 November and 3 December in Nepean, Blue Mountains and Illawarra.

Further, Unions NSW urges affiliates to continue their support of the PSA’s fight against privatisation in ADHC, Land and Property, Information, Public Works, Housing.”

That affiliates continue to support the PSA's fight against privatisation.  That the PSA photos and opinion piece be promoted where possible by Unions NSW.

Com. J. Sinclair seconded.

CARRIED

REPORTS:

1.   Union Summer

Com. C. Ritchie, Unions NSW reported on the Union Summer program for 2016.  Union Summer has been running for 15 years and it is a great experience for young activists.  Unions NSW will send out Circular tomorrow to invite applicants to participate in Union Summer 2016.  In 2016 the programme will run from 1st to 19th February.

Applications are open at www.unionsummer.org.au

Com. P. Millard, NSW Nurses & Midwives Association said it is a positive experience for Young Labor activists to participate.

Union Summer is aimed at young people interested in workers’ rights and social justice, who would like to find out more about how unions work how they campaign to make Australia a better place for working people and their families.

As a result of the program participants became more confident.  Also the Union Summer interns looked at how the union operates and the various campaigns being run to progress the rights and entitlements of members.

The young people also visited the NSW Parliament and considered broader social justice issues.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

That the report be received and noted”.

Com. B. Holmes seconded.

CARRIED

2.  Build a Better Future Campaign

Assistant Secretary, Com. E. Maiden reported on the China Free Trade Agreement debates and said they have been a great success with only ChAFTA debate to be held at Bomaderry on 18th November.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the reported be received and noted”.

 Com. D. McKinley seconded.                 

CARRIED

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1     A Day on the Roundabout - Nearly 100 Days on the Hutchison Picket
JOIN US FOR A DAY OF FUN Live bands, face painting, jumping castle, BBQ.  The MUA are hosting a family fun day at the world famous Hutchison Assembly.  

Saturday 7th November - 12noon to 6pm - Sirius Road, Port Botany.

2.   Marriage Equality Now – No more delays RALLY
Saturday 7 November 1pm Sydney Town Hall.  Organised by Community Action Against Homophobia.

3.  WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF OUR SUPER

The Government wants to change the equal representation model, award default fund status and much more.  These changes alone will significantly weaken the system of industry super that the union movement was instrumental in establishing.   Unions NSW and AustralianSuper invites you to hear:


Ian Silk, Chief Executive of AustralianSuper speak about these developments.

Thursday 12th November at 6pm in Trades Hall Auditorium

Please RSVP Martin Schutz via Australian Super or call 0417 032 913

Drinks and canapés will follow the presentation.

4  160th Anniversary Labour Day Dinner

We will be celebrating our Annual Dinner on  Friday 13th NOVEMBER 2015

7:00pm Sharp  -  Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney

$130 per ticket - Tables of 8, 10 and 12 available.

Please contact Salim Barbar on 0417 286 482 for further details.

This year’s tickets will be automated via the ‘Eventbrite’ website

5.  The People’s Climate March  -  Sunday 29 November -1:00pm The Domain,

As world attention is focused on the Paris international climate talks, we will mobilise and rally all over Australia to:

Send a strong message to our political leaders about the need to protect the Australian people by fairly transitioning to renewable energy and shifting away from dirty polluting fossil fuels.

Further information: Peoplesclimate.org.au

MEETING ADJOURNED AT 6:11 PM

 

 

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