UNIONS NSW COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES, MEETING HELD THURSDAY, 2ND JULY 2015
IN TRADES HALL AUDITORIUM, SYDNEY AT 5:30PM.

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

PRESENT:  M. Morey [Acting Secretary], P. Doughty [ Acting Assistant Secretary].

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 Acting Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

“That the minutes from the meeting of 25th June 2015 as circulated be received”.

 Com. S. Bean seconded.

CARRIED

The Acting Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

That the minutes of the meeting of 25th June 2015 be adopted”.

Com. G. Prestons seconded.

CARRIED

CREDENTIALS:

From:  The United Services Union appointing Daniel Papps in place of Thomas Russell for the remainder of 2015.

From:   The Textile Clothing & Footwear Union of Australia:- appointing Graydon Welsh in place of John Owen for tonight’s                  meeting.

The Acting Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

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

 

 Com. J. Anderson seconded.

CARRIED

APOLOGIES: Apologies were received and accepted for: M. Lennon, R. Collison, J. Kiejda, B. Holmes, A. Claassens, Graeme Kelly, S. Butler, W. Baxter, Nola Scilanto, R. Tonkli, Stuart Burkitt, J. Ross, G. Bueller. 

The Acting Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

 “That the apologies be received and accepted”.

Com. J. Anderson seconded.

CARRIED

QUESTION WITHOUT NOTICE

Com. Paul Robson, NSW Teachers Federation asked the Acting Secretary was he aware of the arrest of Terry Mason, Chair of the NTEU IPC and guest speaker at last week’s meeting at the recent Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy protest rally. 

The Acting Secretary, Mark Morey said he was not aware of his arrest but he will follow up with the representatives who accompanied Terry at the meeting last week.

EXECUTIVE BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE:

From:  AMWU, AWU, ETU/CEPU, CFMEU, MUA, NUW, TCFUA, TWU:-  advising that the Coalition government had finalised and signed the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (China agreement) on 17 June, 2015. 

While the agreement had already been signed, there remains both time and opportunity for ALP MPs to influence the outcome of this agreement.

As representatives of Australian workers, we are most troubled by the China agreement’s special provision regarding so called Investment Facilitation Arrangements (IFA). These IFAs give Chinese investment projects of over $150 million the opportunity to access Chinese workers under a temporary working visa program, and with specially negotiated terms and conditions.

Even more worryingly, access to these IFAs can be granted to investment project proponents that have a Chinese partner who has as small a stake as 15% in the project.

As such they offer an even looser set of conditions than the already excessively loose conditions attached to the granting of 457 visas. In particular, these negotiations will determine:-

  •  How many visas can be granted under an IFA as well as the occupations and skill levels which can be filled with such workers.
  • Whether there should be any requirement for labour market testing (LMT) for the granting of visas under an IFA.2
  • The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold which shall apply (which may be lower than the effective minimum wage of 457 visa workers granted under any similar projects).
  • English language proficiency requirements, if any (currently 457 visa workers must have IELTS 5 to qualify).
  • Qualifications and experience requirements, if any. 

Given that other countries will demand parity, this in effect means that successive agreements will most likely include the same provisions, starting with India.

Unless radically modified, this IFA provision is likely to lead to investment projects across the economy and the country that have:

  • entire imported workforces made up of temporary visa holders, effectively locking out Australian workers regardless of skills, qualifications, ability, availability, or any other relevant factor;
  • workforces that are paid sub-living wages and as a result are effectively bonded temporary immigrant working poor;
  • workforces that do not speak English and cannot effectively represent their interests with respect to workplace safety, employment conditions and other issues; and
  • imported workers working in positions that are not characterised by domestic skill shortages.

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

“The correspondence be received and Unions NSW condemns the Abbott Government agreement and signing of job-killing clauses as part of the China Free Trade Agreement, especially at a time when regional unemployment and youth unemployment is rife.   Noting that the Agreement is yet to be ratified by Parliament, Unions NSW commits to campaigning in local communities calling on MPs and Senators to vote against the China Free Trade Agreement in its current form, and work towards amending the offending provisions.  In particular the provisions which allow companies with a small foreign shareholding working on infrastructure projects to bring their workforce from overseas, at a time when unemployment is rising should be removed.

Further, Unions NSW will work with the ACTU and relevant unions to weave this campaign into the jobs element of the Build a Better Future campaign.”

Com. D. McKinley seconded and spoke to the resolution.

CARRIED

2.  From National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) supports the action being taken by the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE), occupying Aboriginal land at the Block in Redfern to stop a commercial property development planned by Deicorp and the Aboriginal Housing Company.

The NTEU are concerned that commercial development includes a lucrative student accommodation is being given priority and the Aboriginal families that had been evicted from the block will be the last to receive accommodation, if ever. 

Aboriginal housing is desperately needed and should be built before any commercial development is allowed to progress. Many long term Aboriginal residents of Redfern/Waterloo are currently living in overcrowded, unsuitable state housing, or in homelessness, while Aboriginal land is being taken over for commercial development.

The Commonwealth and State governments must allocate public funding immediately for Aboriginal community housing, guaranteed for ongoing use by Aboriginal people for the Block and across the country.

Following the address last week to Unions NSW from Jenny Munroe and the chair of the NTEU IPC Terry Mason, we seek the support of Unions NSW and affiliates in supporting the actions of the RATE and seek assurances from state and federal government that funds will be made available to build housing for Aboriginal, guaranteed for ongoing use by Aboriginal People, at the Block.

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

“The correspondence be received and Unions NSW  supports the call of the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE) for assurances from state and federal governments to secure affordable housing guaranteed for the ongoing use of Aboriginal people, including at the Block in Redfern.”

Com. Genevieve Kelly seconded the resolution.

CARRIED

The Acting Secretary M. Morey referred to the address from Jenny and Terry at Council last week.  There is a crisis in affordable housing and State and Federal Government must do more to ensure that we don’t end up like Los Angeles where people are travelling 3 or 4 hours to get to work.

REPORTS:

1.   Central Coast – Build a Better Future Campaign

Com. Salim Barbar, Campaign Organiser reported on the successful event held last night where 80 activists attended. The rally held outside Central Coast Leagues club before a scheduled visit by the Prime Minister, shows that people are ready to again get active and campaign against the Abbott Government’s agenda for our way of life.

The Acting Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

"That the report be received and noted”.

 Com. Judith Wright seconded.

 CARRIED

2.   Workers Compensation - Reinstate Journey Claims

Com.  S. Deguara reported on  MP Clayton Barr’s proposed bill to address a number of ongoing problems with the 2012 amendments to the workers’ compensation system, including to reinstate journey claims, reinstate powers of Workers compensation Commission (including with respect to costs), introduce power of WIRO to conduct merit reviews, and banning employers from asking if prospective employees have had a workers’ compensation claim in the past.

There are changes coming, and WorkCover has approached us to meet with them on changes they are considering. 

Asked people to get members involved by completing the annual survey on their experiences with the workers compensation system.

The Acting Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

That the report be received and noted”.

Com. P. Kelly seconded.

CARRIED

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1.  Politics in the Pub - Is unemployment Necessary?

     Saturday 4th July @ 2:30pm -  Blackburns Family Hotel 15 Parke St, Katoomba

      Speakers:

  •   Bill Mitchell, Director of Centre of full  employment & equity (CoffEE)
  •  Dr Victor Quirk:  Research Associate (CoffEE)
  •  Jane Grundy – United voice

      All welcome free admission

2.  Miners Federation Centenary Exhibition - 100 years of the Miners Federation 

     Come and see the display of banners, posters and memorabilia

     Sydney Trades Hall Atrium  From 8th to 22nd July 10am-5pm

     Film Screening

     Invitation to the screening of 4 films that document key events in our mining history.

     1 day only - Wednesday July 8th 12pm to 5pm Trades Hall Auditorium.

 

MEETING ADJOURNED AT  5:56 PM

 

 

Tagged: Minutes  /   News

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