UNIONS NSW COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES - MEETING HELD THURSDAY 3 AUGUST 2017
IN TRADES HALL AUDITORIUM, SYDNEY AT 5:30PM

The Acting President, Com. B. Holmes occupied the Chair.

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

OPENING OF THE MEETING:
The Acting President, Com. B. Holmes 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 27 July 2017 as circulated be received".

Com. A. Whelan (NSWNMA) seconded.

CARRIED

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:

"That the minutes from the meeting of 27 July 2017 as circulated be adopted".

Com. D. Wynne (NSWTF-AEU) seconded.

CARRIED

CREDENTIALS:
From the NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF-AEU) appointing Maxine Sharkey in place of Joan Lemaire until 17th August 2017 and David Wynne replacing John Dixon.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:

"That the credentials be received and the delegates welcomed".

Com. M. Thomson (NTEU) seconded.

CARRIED

APOLOGIES:  Apologies were received and accepted for: J. Kiejda (President), T. Costa (Assistant Secretary), Graeme Kelly (USU), J. Dixon (NSWTF-AEU), N. Lang (ASU) B. Smith (SDA), D. McKinley (ETU), N. Mason (NSWNMA), P. Reid (USU).

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

"That the apologies be received and adopted".

Com. M. Thomson (NTEU) seconded.

CARRIED

QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE:
Com. J. Buhler (AWU) asked the Secretary if he was aware that the Member for Blacktown and former Unions NSW Secretary, John Robertson had resigned from NSW Parliament?

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey replied that he was aware and will invite Mr Robertson to address council in the coming weeks and will host drinks to celebrate his contribution.

EXECUTIVE CORRESPONDENCE:

1.  From the Rail Tram & Bus Union (RTBU):  writing to update affiliates on the important centenary dinner held last night to commemorate the Great Strike of 1917.

As many affiliates would be aware, the strike started when workers took to the streets to protest draconian new time cards.

On 2nd August 1917, the workers at the Eveleigh Carriage Workshops & Randwick Tramway Workshops walked out.  By the end of the month the strike had spread across the industry as other workers and unions refused to handle goods produced by non-union labour.  There are few unions around today who don't carry the legacy of this event and they (or their predecessors) were deregistered.  Across industries, Awards were cancelled in retaliation for the workers' courage.

At its height, the strike involved in today's terms, over 1 million workers in NSW alone.  Although some right-wing commentators have been keen to remind us that those workers lost that fight, we know that is a simplistic view.

Last night we heard from ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus on how the 1917 strike changed the DNA of the labour movement and built a solidarity between workers that would last 100 years.  We heard from John Graham about what the strike meant for unions politically and from yourself about how the strike built union values.  These speeches occurred at the historic Carriageworks site, the workplace that sparked this mass walkout.

It was particularly moving to have the family of Merv Flanagan in attendance.  The RTBU are proud to say that we still stand in solidarity with the family of this union martyr whose murderer never faced justice because the ruling class establishment closed ranks around him.

There is an appeal being circulated to fund a memorial to Merv and we would urge you to contribute what you can Please donate on-line at www.chuffed.org/project/1917strike

On behalf of the RTBU I want to congratulate the 1917 Strike Committee chaired by former RTBU Secretary, Nick Lewocki for their work on the dinner.  I also thank you and the team at Unions NSW (particularly Linda Carruthers and Neale Towart) for your dedication and commitment to educating all workers about this important moment in labour history.  It is not lost on the RTBU that Linda did this work while leading negotiations for a new Agreement for today's railway workers - may they have the same courage, solidarity and tenacity of the Lilywhites of the 1917 strike.

There will be several regional events across the state to make this vital part of labour history accessible to all workers and I encourage affiliates to get involved.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:

"That the correspondence be received and Unions NSW correspondence be received and Unions NSW congratulates the 1917 Strike Committee for organising the centenary dinner and other events to commemorate this important event in union history.

Thank you also to last night's speakers and everyone who participated in making the event such a success, particularly Linda Carruthers and Neale Towart.

Affiliates are requested to donate to fund a memorial to Merv Flanagan as well as the production of a documentary about the strike.  Details will be circulated."

Com. A. Claassens seconded.

CARRIED

2.  From the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU):-  The CFMEU writes in relation to the ongoing campaign by the community of Millers Point to keep the iconic Sirius building in public hands and as public housing.  Last Sunday the NSW Labor Conference heard from one of the two last residents of Sirius Myra Demetriou who gave a spirited and inspiring plea for support for the campaign.  The community is determined to fight on and it is important that Labor positively commit to do all it can to support the Millers Point community, particularly in the wake of the Land and Environment Court finding that the Minister for Housing has failed in his obligation to recognise the heritage value and significance of Sirius.

The CFMEU, with the support of Unions NSW, maintains its interim green ban and supports the ongoing campaign of the residents.  We should continue to engage with the community and in whatever forum, push for the maintenance of Sirius in public hands for public housing, as well more broadly, the Rocks/Millers Point area or what is left of it.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:

"That the correspondence be received and Unions NSW will continue their support of the CFMEU's interim green ban and support for the ongoing campaign of the residents in the Rocks and Millers Point area to keep Sirius in public hands for public housing.

Further, Unions NSW will write to residents to reiterate our commitment to the cause."

Com. B. Parker (CFMEU) seconded.

CARRIED

3. From the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU):- advising Higher Education has experienced massive growth with the number of staff it employs growing by 40% in the last decade.  But decisions made by management of our universities means that 4 in 5 of the jobs created over this time have been insecure.

General and Professional staff functions have been restructured, outsourced, then brought back in-house and staffed with casual labour.  Academic staff can complete eight to twelve years of study to obtain required qualifications and then have no secure job.

One of the most casualised universities is the University of Technology, Sydney.  Union members at the university today launched a new phase of their campaign for job security and at a packed lecture theatre took a step towards industrial action if key claims for more secure work are not met during current negotiations.

NTEU members employed at UTS have produced a video highlighting the extent of the crisis of insecure work at their institution.  We ask this be played to council and that Unions NSW promote the petition campaign to affiliates.  www.megaphone.org.au/p/uts-security-pledge

The NTEU video was played to Council.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:

"That the correspondence be received and Unions NSW supports the NTEU campaign for job security for employees of UTS.

Further, we encourage all affiliates to publicise the campaign to their members including the megaphone petition".

Com. M. Thomson (NTEU) seconded.

CARRIED BY ACCLAMATION

REPORTS:

1.  NSW Labor Conference 2017 - Urgency Motion - Good Jobs and Economic Fairness

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey reported that following resolutions passed at the NSW Labor Conference on the weekend, a future NSW Labor Government will:

  • Restore Sunday and public holiday penalty rates;
  • Introduce legislative protections to ensure employers do not misclassify workers as independent contractors in order to bypass and undercut employment conditions, particularly in the gig-economy;
  • Make wage theft a criminal offence;
  • Introduce a licencing regime for labour hire providers and legislation to ensure workers engaged through labour hire operators receive the same rates of pay as employees; and
  • Restore right of entry access to provide unions with the right to investigate and prosecute suspected cases of wage theft.

Com. Morey also noted that resolutions were also passed regarding TAFE funding, privatisation of health care and reviews of current contracts, transport, 2.5% wages cap review and affordable housing.  The conference agenda was driven by the union movement.

Delegates were united in their support for 10 days paid domestic violence leave in the NES and the ASU's We Won't Wait  campaign.  ASU members and delegates spoke passionately in this debate and appreciated the practice time at Town Hall on the Friday that Unions NSW had organised.  Further events in the We Won't Wait campaign will be circulated soon.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:

"That the report be received and noted".

Com. I. Knight (HSU) seconded.

CARRIED

2.  Joint Delegates Conference 2017 - Resolutions

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey reported on the Joint Delegates Conference 2017 which had occurred the previous Friday and the two resolutions passed.

Resolution Kone Elevators

The combined delegates meeting resolves to support ETU and AMWU members at Kone Elevators in their industrial campaign to secure a fair and decent EBA outcome.  The combined delegates meeting sends a message of solidarity and support to the affected members.

Moved:          Fergal Eiffe, AMWU
Seconded:      Dave McKinley, Secretary, ETU

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey reported that this issue is ongoing and further solidarity action from affiliates will be needed.

Joint Delegates Resolution

This meeting of Unions NSW affiliated union delegates declare their readiness to take on the challenge to defend and improve the rights and conditions of workers in all sectors and industries.

We find ourselves at a cross roads where near non-existent wage growth, and conservative governments empowering corporations against workers has resulted in growing inequality and uncertainty for many.  

As a movement, it is our responsibility to fight back and ensure the rules are changed.  

To this end:  

1. This meeting of delegates supports the ACTU campaign to change the rules. The current system is broken. This is the beginning of an ongoing campaign. 

2.  This meeting of delegates calls on Unions NSW and affiliated unions for a Day of Action/Rally on 18 October 2017 so that we have sufficient time to mobilise the maximum number of union members to participate. This mobilisation of workers needs to be supported with easy to distribute and understand material, both in printed and electronic format, informing workers and the general public of the important issues.  

3.  This meeting of delegates calls for a joint delegates meeting to be convened in September for the planning and organisation of the Day of Action/Rally. 

4.  Each union is entitled to determine the type and extent of action that their members are to participate in for the Day of Action/Rally.

5.  The Day of Action/Rally will include an Aboriginal speaker to speak on issues specific to the Aboriginal and indigenous community. 

Moved: Denis McNamara, CFMEU Delegate/COM

Seconded: Mark Morey, Secretary, Unions NSW.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey noted ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus spoke to the above motion. It is now proposed that the rally on 18 October 2017 will meet at Belmore Park and march to Hyde Park and will be part of the lead up to a National Day of Action in March 2018.

In September 2017, a meeting will be held to progress plans. 

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:

"That the report be received and noted".

Com. B. Parker seconded.

CARRIED

3.   Time to Fight Back - Free Trade Agreement and Privatisation Workshop;
Time and Date:   10:00am - 4.00pm on Thursday 31 August 2017
Venue:  Stephen Birney Auditorium, USU Sydney Office,
Level 7, 321 Pitt Street, Sydney
Speakers:  Dr. Patricia Ranald - AFTINET, Kate Lee - Union Aid Abroad and Michelle Higelin - ActionAid Australia.

Michael Whaites, Oceania Sub-regional Secretary, Public Services International, reported regarding this event.  He noted that it is a great time to be a unionist.  There is a huge focus on inequality.  The push for privatisation is driving inequality and Free Trade Agreements (FTA) are driving privatisation.  Luckily the TPP fell down.  The worst aspects of the TPP are being pushed for in a new regional agreement called RCEP and the Training Services Agreement.

August presents a moment in time to regather, reeducate and look for campaign opportunities.

Mr Whaites encouraged all to attend the workshop.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved;

"That the report be received and noted".

Com. M. Whaites (NSWNMA) seconded.

CARRIED.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1. Action to Support our Hardworking Pharmacists.

Lets Tell Pharmacy Employers to Protect Penalty Rates

Can we do it?   Yes!

Last time we made notice in from of Chemist Warehouse, the pharmacy giant agreed to protect penalty rates for existing staff.

Where:  Pharmacies all around Australia.   When:  Sunday 6 August 2017

Com. P. Davies (PA) thanked everyone for the support so far in the campaign to support Pharmacists. Hard working Pharmacists, who have 5 years training, are only getting $25 per hour but their bosses are making money out of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.  Pharmacists could be playing a greater role in health management, particularly under the Pharmacy Health Agreement.  Action to date has seen Chemist Warehouse agree to protect penalty rates and Priceline are also showing some progress. This Sunday there is a new target - Amcal at Willoughby at 12 Noon.  Com. P. Davies invited affiliates to join and help.  

2. Bluestocking Week 2017 - Trivia Night
Celebrating Women in Higher Education
Hosted by NTEU NSW.  All Unionists welcome.
Thursday 17 August from 6pm
Atrium, Trades Hall
Tables of 6
Cost: Women $25/ea; Men: $29/ea
(
accounting for the 16% gender pay gap)

Raising funds for Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia.
Details and tickets available:   www.nteu.org.au/nsw

3.  Thank You Celebration
Thanks to you and your local community campaigning efforts, Bowral Hospital is going to remain in public hands.  Join us to celebrate our achievements as a community.
Sunday  6 August 2017
12:30 - 3:30pm, Bowral Bowling Club, 40 Shepherd Street, Bo
wral
A light lunch will be provided with plenty of fun activities for the kids!
All Welcome

 

MEETING ADJOURNED AT 6:05PM

 

 

 

                                                                                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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