UNIONS NSW COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES MEETING HELD THURSDAY, 9TH APRIL 2015

IN TRADES HALL AUDITORIUM, SYDNEY AT 5:35PM.

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

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

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 Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the minutes from the Annual General Meeting of 19th February, 2015 as circulated be received”.

 Com. R. Martin seconded.

CARRIED

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the minutes of the Annual General Meeting of 19th February 2015 be adopted”.

 Com. M. Stylli seconded.

CARRIED

MINUTES:

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

“That the minutes from the meeting of 26 February, 2015 as circulated be received”.

 Com. P. Kelly seconded.

CARRIED

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the minutes of the meeting of 26th February 2015 be adopted”.

 Com. Grahame Kelly seconded.

CARRIED

CREDENTIALS FOR TONIGHT'S MEETING:

From:  Textile Clothing & Footwear Union of Australia:- appointing T. LeFevre in place of J. Owen and G. Welsh in place of H. Nguyen for tonight’s meeting.

From:  Australian Workers’ Union, Greater NSW Branch:- appointing S. Bean in place of R. Collison for tonight’s meeting.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 That the credentials be received and the delegates welcomed.”

 

 Com. B. Smith seconded.

CARRIED

APOLOGIES: Apologies were received and accepted for: R. Collison, J. Kiejda, A. Whelan, J. Wright, A. Claassens, S. Turner

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the apologies be received and accepted”.

 Com. L. Bremer seconded.

CARRIED

GUEST SPEAKER:

The President, Com. M. Issanchon welcomed the Hon. Luke Foley, Leader of the NSW Opposition and invited him to address the meeting.

Com. Foley advised wherever he went during the election campaign he was met by organised labour, from community workers in Penrith, Transgrid workers in western NSW, TAFE teachers across NSW, manufacturing workers in the Hunter and nurses and HSU members in each hospital across the state.  Memories of working passionate about public services and the services they delivered throughout the state will stay with him for a long time.

Com. Foley advised he was proud to be the leader of a united labour campaign which it was, from its bootstraps.  The Labor Party and movement stood up for traditional values for working people.  He stated this election was about renewal with a 9.0 per cent swing against a one term conservative government.

Com. Foley stated he shared the movement’s disappointment in not winning government but now we have to fight and resist a conservative agenda in NSW and seek to change the government in 4 years’ time.  We now return to a point where the next election is winnable and we are in a position to do to this government what was done to the Greiner Government.

Com. Foley stated electricity will not be the central issue at the next election due to the likelihood the conservatives having control of both houses of parliament.  The conservatives have made some grand plans such as the fixing of the congestion in Sydney and Mike Baird will be judged on his performance and the Labor Opposition will hold the conservatives to account with relentless scrutiny over the next 4 years. 

Com. Foley stated he was proud of the policies taken to the election including keeping electricity in public hands, ratios for nurses and maintaining restricted trading hours for retail workers so they could have time with their families.

Com. Foley advised he is looking forward to working with unions and their members over the next 4 years to hold this conservative government to account.  The Opposition has moved from a rump to a united Opposition with 20 new MPs who attended caucus yesterday.   Com. Foley stated the party he now leads will be based on our labour values.

Com. Foley thanked the NSW union movement and their members for their hard work and support throughout the campaign.  He said he believed our movement will come through this challenge and he will lead a credible alternate government over the next 4 years to lead Labor back to government in NSW..

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon thanked Luke for his address.

EXECUTIVE BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE:

1.  From United Services Union:- calling on Unions NSW to publicly disassociate itself from all the comments made by Michal Costa since his resignation as Secretary of Unions NSW.

Included in this public disassociation of Michael Costa must be a statement from the current Secretary of Unions NSW condemning in particular his damaging public comments in regard to the industry Unions' campaign against the sale of poles and wires by the Baird government, these public comments had a detrimental effect on the Luke Foley led Labor team and the industry unions' election campaign.

The United Services Union will be a co-signatory to this statement and many other Union affiliates may be prepared to do likewise. Mr. Costa's comments, particularly since leaving State Parliament, have been damaging to both the Union movement and the Australian Labor Party. His willingness to criticize Labor and Unions on the Bolt program is an act of treachery and disloyalty from a person who owes much of their career to these two bodies.

Included in the Unions NSW statement there must be an acknowledgement that the portrait of Michael Costa which hangs alongside past Secretaries of Unions NSW in the Trades Hall President's Boardroom will be removed and disposed of.

The purpose of this request is to remove the insulting pretence that this ex-Trade Union Secretary and Labor Party member is honoured and respected when in fact he abandoned and dishonoured our movement where he is despised.

As this matter will have to be debated at the Unions NSW Executive we will be happy to address the Council on this motion. The USU is also seeking the endorsement of Unions NSW and all Union affiliates of the NSW Branch of the ALP to expel Michael Costa from the Labor Party (if he is a member) for bringing dishonour to the Party.

The USU provides the following background information about Michael Costa's Union and privileged political career:

  • Former Ironworker' Union delegate Michael Costa was elected Secretary of the NSW Labor Council in 1998. In 2001, Michael Costa became a member of the Legislative Council at a count-back following the resignation of Johno Johnson.

  • In the Carr Labor Government Costa served as Police Minister from 21 November 2001 until 2 April 2003. Costa served as Transport Services Minister from 2 April 2003 until 21 January 2005. He was also appointed as Minister for the Hunter, Minister Assisting the Minister for Natural Resources and Minister Assisting the Minister for State Development. Costa, in the Transport portfolio, was controversial during this time, mainly due to rail line closures on the Murwillumbah line, the near-closure of part of the Newcastle line, and a train driver dispute.

  • When the Treasurer, Michael Egan resigned unexpectedly in January 2005, the then Premier, Bob Carr, took the opportunity for a major reshuffle. Costa was subsequently shifted to Roads and the minor portfolios of Ports and Economic Reform and replaced in Transport by John Watkins. Costa was Roads Minister between 21 January and 3 August 2005. Following a cabinet reshuffle brought about by the resignation of Premier Carr in August 2005, Costa became the Minister for Finance and Infrastructure. Costa was appointed Treasurer on 17 February 2006. This is the most famous part of his political career. His time as Treasurer was marked by his relationship with his Federal counterpart, Peter Costello, at a time when the state's economy had begun to contract, raising the spectre of a recession. Costa was the architect of his government's plans to privatise NSW's electricity sector and in the face of union opposition was arguing that the move would create jobs and secure a new power station to meet power demand. ABC News posted on 6 February 2008, New South Wales Treasurer Michael Costa says "he cannot understand why Unions New South Wales is opposed to the privatisation of the state's electricity sector.' After the NSW ALP conference voted down the privatisation plans, Costa threatened to quit if the policy did not pass the NSW Parliament.  In September 2008, with opposition from the Liberal and National Parties, as well as dissident Labor MP's, the privatisation bill was defeated.

  • Soon afterwards, amid mounting leadership speculation, Morris lemma dumped Costa as Treasurer, but then resigned as Premier after losing the support of the dominant right faction, and was replaced by Nathan Rees. Costa announced that he was quitting politics, and after resigning from his seat was replaced by John Robertson. A week after his sacking, Costa said the Government was dominated by "spin merchants" and "machine politicians" unqualified to govern in an opinion piece written for The Daily Telegraph.

  • The Daily Telegraph's Joe Hilderbrand wrote on 20 March 2015, "Former Labor Treasurer Michael Costa accuses his Party of a $10 billion taxpayer betrayal of opposing the sale of poles and wires."

  • Michael Costa is a regular political writer for The Australian newspaper and regular commentator on the Bolt Report. Both the newspaper and the television program continually trash the Labor Party and the Union movement. Michael Costa is a hypocrite and a traitor who abandoned the institutions that gave him so much in life.

The United Services Union requested that this matter be placed on the next business paper where this matter must be debated.

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

“That the correspondence be received and Unions NSW condemns the attacks by former Secretary, Michael Costa on the union movement, in particular his criticism of the unions campaign against the Baird government’s proposal to sell the state’s electricity distribution network.

Further, former Secretary and Life Member, Barrie Unsworth and Bob Lipscomb be asked to consider any further action that should be taken in light of Michael Costa’s public comments including the removal of his portrait.”

Com. Graeme Kelly seconded the resolution.

CARRIED

2. From Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union: - requesting the broader intervention of Unions NSW in order to preserve as a safety entitlement the right of HSRs to choose their training provider, under Section 72 (1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the Act).

Over 35 elected Health and Safety Representatives in Fleet Maintenance Division at Sydney Trains have requested the ACTU HSR Initial training (NSW Approved Training provider No: HSR1249) in accordance with the Act, administered by HOSTA. Sydney Trains has argued that their Procurement Policy prevails over the worker’s choice provided by the legislation. WorkCover has accepted this position as oppose to defending the legislation. Not only does this training provide true independence from Sydney Trains, it also has an emphasis on empowering the health and safety representative. 

In a unique twist the AMWUs matter has been intrinsically tied to an RTBU members’ internal review by WorkCover relating to a similar matter. That review has supported the WorkCover Inspectors decision to allow the employer to choose the training provider.

The next step for the RTBU is to do an external review to the Industrial Relations Commission. This case is of major precedent as it will enable employers to choose the training provider negating this section of the WHS Act.

The AMWU joins the RTBU in calling on the Unions NSW Executive and Council to intervene to support the running of this external review as this has a broader cross union effect if we lose it.  

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

“That the correspondence be received and Unions NSW support the request to intervene with running this matter at the NSW Industrial Commission.”

Com. R. Fortescue seconded the resolution.

CARRIED

3.  From Sara Watkins, CEO, Bundeena RSL Club:-  writing in the hope that the Trade Union movement may be able to provide financial assistance to their small community club at this time.

The RSL advised that in the early hours of the 12th February 2015 a devastating fire destroyed approximately 80% of our club. Luckily no one was inside the building when the fire started however the club has not been able to operate since this time.

The club was fully insured however Insurance will only replace ‘like for like’ as per the policy terms. Bundeena RSL Club was an old building which didn’t function effectively for staff, members & guests, however we made the best of what we had.

The club has a membership of approximately 1200 members and has significant importance to both the community and visitors to our wonderful township. It provides a much needed social hub for members and tourists that visit the area. The club is the township’s accredited tourist information site playing a significant role in providing maps and information to thousands of people that visit the royal national park year round.

This club has played a significant role over the years in the town’s development sponsoring many community and sporting groups, rugby league, soccer, water polo, rural fire brigade, women’s auxiliary, RSL Sub Branch, Bundeena Primary School , Bundeena/Maianbar senior’s day care group to name a few, including being the town’s largest employer. 

The Club plays another very important role as the emergency evacuation point for Bundeena and Maianbar for a place of refuge for residents and a meeting point for emergency services.

All of the services & facilities that the club provided to the community have now ceased since the fire and the community is struggling without them.

The club advised they are holding a fundraiser on Sunday, 12th April and are asking the local community to dig deep to help ‘deck out the new ari’. Local musicians will be playing for free on the day and we have received various prizes from local business in Bundeena and the Sutherland Shire to auction and raffle. 

We are trying to raise as much money ourselves to provide the facilities that the community want in the new club, however this will only be a small amount in the scheme of what we need to do to improve the services of our club and township.

The Club is asking that at this time if the Trade Union movement may be able to financially help us with the re-building of our club. The club would publicly recognise the movement’s contributions through newspaper articles in our local paper ‘The Leader’, the club’s website and any printed media such as flyers.

The CEO said she was prepared to make any submission in person on behalf of the club if required and sincerely hoped that Unions NSW would look at our request as a worthy cause and look forward to a favourable response from you. 

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

“The correspondence be received and Unions NSW will support the Bundeena RSL at this difficult time by encouraging affiliates to attend the fund raiser on Sunday 12 April and also other fund raising events and activities.

Refer the correspondence to Unions NSW Finance Committee for an appropriate donation from Unions NSW and further that Bundeena’s RSL CEO, Sara Watkins be invited to address a Unions NSW Council meeting.”

Com. G. Derrick seconded the resolution.

CARRIED

4.  From Branch Secretary, Australian Services Union NSW & ACT (Services) Branch:- informing Unions NSW that Natalie Lang had been elected Branch Secretary and Judith Wright, Branch Deputy Secretary, following the recent ASU elections.

As you are aware, I am taking up a position at the ACTU and will stand for Vice President position after the May Congress.  Accordingly, I submit my resignation as Vice President of Unions NSW.  It has been both a privilege and an honour to have served in this position for the last 7 years and to have been a member of Unions NSW Executive for 11 years.

The camaraderie amongst Executive members is one of our strengths.  I always enjoyed our Thursday meetings and catching up with other union leaders.  There have been many memorable meetings over the years where we have thrashed out important strategy that has ultimately had a big impact on the lives of our members.

Our unity is our strength, and I would like to commend you for building on the work of previous leaders to maintain and deepen this unity.

I want to thank Mark Lennon, Marilyn and all the officers and staff for their support.  I won’t be a stranger.

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

“The correspondence be received and Unions NSW extends its thanks to Sally for all her support and work with and on behalf of Unions NSW in particular in her role as Vice President.

Further, Unions NSW notes the significant contribution Sally has made to the broader union movement in her role as Secretary of t ASU.

Unions NSW also congratulate Natalie Lang and Judith Wright on their election to the positions of Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the ASU”.

Com. A. McFarlane seconded the resolution.

CARRIED

REPORTS:

1.  Campaign Update

The Secretary, Com. Lennon thanked all affiliates for their support and hard work during the NSW 2015 State Election campaign.  Com. Lennon also thanked all Unions NSW staff for their assistance and dedication during this extremely busy period.  Com. Lennon also thanked and commended the hard work of all the local groups who campaigned in key electorates across the State.

Com. Lennon advised Unions NSW was in the process of undertaking a review of the campaign and would be providing a comprehensive report and evaluation to all affiliates in due course.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

 “That the report be received”.

 Com. M. Gatfield seconded.

CARRIED

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

That the report be adopted”.

Com. C. Bolger seconded.

CARRIED

2.  Returning Officer's Report

I hereby advise in accordance with Rule 24 of Unions NSW Rules, nominations will open at 9.00a.m on Friday, 10th April 2015 and close at 4.00pm on Thursday, 23rd April 2015 for the following vacant position:

          VICE PRESIDENT:  (1) to be elected

Nominations should be on the prescribed form available from the Secretary.

Should a ballot be necessary it will be held on Thursday, 30th April, 2015 between 5.00pm and 7.00pm at the Trades Hall.

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

That the report be received”.

Com. P.  Noack seconded.

CARRIED

The Secretary, Com. M. Lennon moved:-

That the report be adopted”.

Com. M. Boyd seconded.

CARRIED

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1.  CFMEU Trivia Night & BBQ - Friday 17th April 6:30pm for 7:00pm
     
 Concord Bowling Club, 1 Clermont Ave, Concord.
      $25 per person ($200 per table)
      
Fundraiser for Worker Rights in Colombia.  All proceeds will be contributed to Sinaltrainal Food and Production Workers Union of         Colombia.

2.   International Day of Mourning   
      You are invited to attend International Day of Mourning with families who have lost loved ones.
      Tuesday, 28th April 11.45am for 12:00pm - Reflection Park, Little Pier Street, Darling Harbour

3.   May Day Toast - Friday, 1st May 2015
       6:00pm
 at the Workers, 292 Darling Street, Balmain
       $50.00 per person - RSVP is essential
       
For enquiries and to book phone (02) 9881 5999 or  Email cdelprat@unionsnsw.org.au

4.    May Day Rally - Sunday 3rd May 2015
        11:00am  Sydney Town Hall

5.     Women In Super – Mother’s Day Classic- Sunday, 10th May 2015 – The Domain, Sydney & Parramatta Park
        Walk or run 4km or 8km It doesn’t matter how you walk or run. It Just matters why!  Walk or run for breast cancer research. 

        Registration open – Nationwide events.

       Emma Maiden and Rita Mallia will be running again so please either join them or sponsor them.

       Register online: mothersdayclassic.com.au/register-online.

7.    NEXT WEEK'S COUNCIL MEETINGS

        The Trades Hall Auditorium will be closed next week for maintenance.  Therefore the venue for next week's 4:30pm
        Executive and 5:30pm Council meetrings (Thursday, 16th April) will be held at the following venue:

         Club Room, NSW Teachers Federation Convention Centre

         23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills.

Meeting Adjourned at 6:25pm.

Tagged: Minutes

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