UNIONS NSW ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING MINUTES - MEETING HELD THURSDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2017
TRADES HALL AUDITORIUM, TRADES HALL COMMENCING AT 5:30PM.

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

PRESENT:   M. Morey [Secretary], E. Maiden, T. Costa (Assistant Secretaries], and delegates as per attendance book.

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.

The President, Com. J. Kiejda welcomed distinguished guest the Hon. Barrie Unsworth. 

WELCOME TO FRATERNAL DELEGATES: The President, Com. J. Kiejda welcomed and introduced our fraternal delegates from Rengo Tokyo:-

Mr. Kei OKADA -   President Rengo Tokyo  (UA-Zensen – The Japanese Federation of Textile, Chemical, Food, Commercial Service and General Workers’ Union).

Mr. Yasumasa TAKEI - Committee Member of Rengo Tokyo (Vice General Secretary of Federation of Non-life Insurance Workers’ Union of Japan).

Ms Rumi KIKUCHI - Rengo Tokyo Women’s Committee. Vice President of National Federation of Automobile Transport Unions Tokyo and President of Toyo Transport Workers’ Union.

Mr Kanji YANAGAWA -  Vice General Secretary of Rengo Tokyo (All-Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers Union Tokyo).

CREDENTIALS FOR THE ENSURING YEAR:

From: New South Wales Teachers Federation a branch of the Australian Education Union appointing:-  R. Brown, J. Dixon, A. Kerr as their delegates for 2017.

From: Australian Manufacturers Workers Union appointing:-  T. Ayres, R. Fortescue, S. Murphy, D. White, H. Kaushal, I. Sherwood, V. Seagrove and B. Griggs as their delegates for 2017.

From: Electrical Trades Union of Australia, NSW Branch:- appointing D. McKinley, J. Knight and M. Stylli as delegates for 2017.

From: Community and Public Sector Union:- appointing M. Donnelly, M. Tull, C. Lumb, R. Ryan, A. Keenan as delegates for 2017 and R. Pontoon as alternate delegate for 2017.

From: Construction, Forestry Mining and Energy Union – Construction and General:- appointing B. Parker, K. Wray, B. Kruse, P. Connell, G. Preston and M. Childs as delegates for 2017.

From: Construction, Forestry Mining and Energy Union – Northern Mining and NSW Energy District: - appointing G. Kelly, P. Jordan and A. Thomas as delegates for 2017.

From:  Professionals Australia (APESMA) NSW Branch and Professional Engineers Division: - appointing P. Davies as their delegate for 2017. 

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

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

Com. P. Noack (AWU) seconded.

CARRIED

APOLOGIES:  Apologies were received and accepted for:- J. Dixon, (NSWTF), B. Holmes (NSWNMA), J. Wright (ASU), R. Collison, (AWU), D. Papps (USU ).

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

“That the apologies be received and accepted.”

Com. D. McKinley (ETU) seconded.

CARRIED

GUEST SPEAKER: The Secretary introduced Michael Cooney, Executive Director, Chifley Research Centre to address council regarding Inclusive Prosperity. Michael made the following key points:

  • Productivity is growing but wages are not keeping pace;
  • When union membership shrank in the US, the share of income going to the top 10% increased;
  • Inequality is not inevitable – it is a choice we make with the rules we create to structure our economy (Stiglitz);
  • The global forces of technology and globalisation, together with the rules that structure our economy around tax, financial regulation, trade agreements, structural discrimination, labour law and macroeconomic policy all combine to create the daily experience of inequality (mainly jobs that don’t provide a living wage, increasing costs of living and anxiety).
  • Australia has a high average annual income (which strengthens our economy), growth during the GFC, higher employment rates, and better middle incomes than other countries.
  • Australia hasn’t gone down the US path yet, but there are emerging threats.
  • Australia is now above international average on the inequality ladder, money coming into the economy isn’t being distributed fairly and the gender pay gap persists.
  • Rising inequality is bad for the economy. Even the IMF, Bank of England and World Bank agree on this point.
  • Chifley have measured the increase in inequality.
  • Inequality damages growth by squeezing incomes, damaging education and skills, damaging health and by concentrating wealth.
  • Rising inequality is also a problem for democracy.
  • Chifley advocates for inclusive prosperity, which means jobs that pay, housing you can afford, health care when you need it, education for your kids and secure income in retirement.
  • There also needs to be a political solution too.

The Secretary thanked Michael for his very informative and interesting presentation.  

AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS:  The Secretary, Com. M. Morey presented to the meeting the Audited Financial Statements as at 30 June 2016.  

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

“That the Auditor’s Financial Statements for the year ending 30 June 2016 be received and adopted.”

Com. G. Derrick (FSU) seconded.

CARRIED

APPOINTMENT OF AUDITORS:   The Secretary, Com. M. Morey, in accordance with Rule 13 moved:-

That KPMG, the audit company, be appointed Auditors for Unions NSW for the year ended 30th June 2017.”

Com. M. Kearin (NSWNMA) seconded.

CARRIED

TRADES HALL REPORT:  The Secretary, Com. M. Morey presented the Annual Trades Hall Report.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

That the report be received.”

Com. C. Drane (USU) seconded.

CARRIED

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

That the report be adopted.”

Com. R. Mallia (CFMEU) seconded.

CARRIED

Address by Mr Kei Okada, RENGO TOKYO

Thank you so much to Unions NSW.  I am Kei Okada, President of Rengo Tokyo.

On behalf of 1.14 million members of Rengo Tokyo, I would like to thank Unions NSW for inviting me and my colleagues to the Unions NSW Annual General Meeting and offer my sincere appreciation to Ms Judith Kiejda, President, and every Unions NSW member for our cultivating solidarity as an old friend since 1991. 

Last October, a delegation of three including Mr. Thomas Costa, Assistant Secretary of Unions NSW joined our Rengo Tokyo’s Meeting to deepen the relationship which we really appreciate. 

In Japan, we are now facing issues of a declining birth rate and an aging society and that is creating a shortage of labor force in many industries and companies. 

On the other hand, so called non-permanent workers such as part timers, contract labor, dispatched workers now reach close to 40% of the whole labor force and this leads to many differences of working conditions including wages. 

Last year, we launched a campaign “KURASHINO SOKOAGE OUENDAN” which means “Raise the floor of living” and we are developing the programs of “difference correction” and “raise the standard” for all working people at the coming “2017 Annual Spring Offensive”.  That is a Japanese unions’ characteristic approach. We believe this will lead to self-sustaining growth of the economy.  As individual consumption occupies 60% of the Japanese GDP, steadily reducing the difference of working conditions, the difference by enterprise scale, the difference between men and women and raising every individual person’s wage are major objectives. 

In addition, eradication of long working hours is one of our big propositions. There are many cases of suicide and psychiatric disorders by overwork and it is a big social problem these days in our country. We realize it is necessary to solve this problem urgently together with the Japanese government, Tokyo metropolitan, companies and the union.

People work to live and we all have a right to be happy.  Work should not ruin one’s health, losing one’s life or making family members unhappy.  We’d like to reinforce another theme of our 2017 Spring Offensive ”Stamp out long working hours and have a happy life”. 

As you may have heard, Japan is going to host Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in year 2020. We at Rengo Tokyo are gradually pushing forward preparation for its success as well.  Especially we are aiming, to use catch phrase, “Fill up the Paralympic stadium and let’s cheer together”.  For example, we will let people know how cool and great Paralympians are, experience actual Paralympic sports for fun and understand its difficulty. 

We are also pushing forward various activities like training to be volunteers and experiencing volunteer work. It would be great if you could tell us about your experience of hosting the Sydney Olympics and Paralympics.  As we are going to prepare for people from all over the world to enjoy Japanese “OMOTENASHI” (which means hospitality), we will be delighted to have you over to Tokyo in year 2020. 

Finally, I anticipate this Unions NSW Annual General Meeting will empower further development and success of Unions NSW and I would like to conclude my talk hoping to strengthen and deepen our solidarity between Unions NSW and Rengo Tokyo.  

Thank you all for your kind attention and for giving me an opportunity to talk. 

Kei Okada, President of Rengo Tokyo 23rd February 2017.

SCROLLS OF HONOUR: The Secretary Com. M. Morey announced Scrolls of Honour will be presented throughout 2017 to: Dave Oliver, Sally McManus and Lyn Ridge.

SECRETARY’S ANNUAL REPORT:  The Secretary, Com. M. Morey presented the 2016 Unions NSW Annual Report to the meeting, copies of which had been circulated to delegates. The Annual Report can also be downloaded from our Unions NSW website.

The Secretary addressed delegates and thanked all Unions NSW officers for all their support, hard work and commitment and said that their work is a calling not a vocation. 

The Secretary acknowledged his Executive Assistant, Mary O’Donoghue for her ongoing support, professionalism and Mary’s 31 years’ knowledge working for Unions NSW.  He also acknowledged the admin staff for all their assistance and thanked the Communication team for their great work on the revamped Annual Report.

Our work at Unions NSW couldn’t be done without the ongoing work and commitment from our wonderful team of affiliates, activists, LUCCS and retired members – without all their support and effort we could not have run such a successful campaign.

Unions NSW have set goals to campaign beyond electoral politics. Whether that means:

  • Our anti-privatisation hospital campaign;
  • Getting 10 days paid domestic violence leave in the NES;
  • Getting injured workers back to work;
  • Focussing on Airtasker and the new economy;
  • Talking about jobs in regional NSW; or
  • Pay equity…

 ..we are continuing to fight.

Our signature events were International Day of Mourning, Equal Pay Dinner, Jeff Shaw Memorial Lecture. In 2017 we will add back the Labour Day Dinner and commemorate 10 years of YR@W. 

This year the Secretary said he was pleased to announce the partnership with the Walkley Foundation and Andrew Casey to sponsor an award for the best industrial journalist.

The Secretary tabled Unions NSW Strategic Plan 2017-2020.  This plan was developed over 12 months with the support of all affiliates.  It is a plan for winning, to place Unions NSW in a position to lead and support.

The plan will see growth in the union movement by developing capacity across the movement. Unions NSW will be a powerful voice for working people. We will campaign beyond the electoral cycle and we will win.

It is a plan to:

  • Develop industry campaigns for growth
  • Tackle new forms of work like Airtasker
  • To fight privatisation
  • To fight and provide a voice for working people.

We need that now more than ever.

The Secretary also reminded everyone of the ABCC National Fight Back Rally on 9th March at 11am. Governor Phillip Tower, Farrer Place. This is such an important issue. We’re fighting for our Jobs, we’re fighting for our safety and we’re fighting for our rights. Serial killers have more rights including the right to silence compared to officials, delegates and union members in the construction industry.

The Secretary said when he commenced at Unions NSW in 2009 we were at a rally for Ark tribe and now it’s gone back to that again.

And then today, the bosses court delivers the attack on penalty rates. We relish the opportunity to defend rights at work. We have our backs against the wall and are having to fight our way out – we’re up for the fight.  It is time to take action!

We will look at civil disobedience. We need to bring members with us and build a sense of urgency.  We are on the front line now.  We cannot decline further. But organising is hard work so we need to have the strategic plan to guide us.

Whether it is a small or a big issue we must start fighting and we know we can win.

We are up for a fight!

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:-

“That the 2016 Annual Report be received and adopted.”

 Com.  C. Bolger (Professionals Australia) seconded.

 CARRIED BY ACCLAMATION

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1. International Transport Workers Federation, Australia
Planned action in support of 43 sacked dock workers in Madagascar.  12:30pm Tuesday 28 February 2017.
Madagascar Consulate, 47 York St, Sydney.

2. International Women’s Day Afternoon Tea
2:30pm Wednesday 8 March 2017  Universal Cafe, UTS, 702 Harris Street, Ultimo
Afternoon tea followed by Big Steps, Equal Pay ‘walk off’ Location 

3. The International Women's Day March 2017
For health, economic independence representation and safety.
Sat 11th March 10:00am - Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park North

4. Unions NSW and the Walkley Foundation “Industrial Award”
Unions NSW and Walkley Foundation are pleased to announce the five year partnership 2017 to 2021.
This award is to celebrate reporting by the Australian media.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey thanked delegates for their attendance and invited delegates to the Atrium for drinks and finger food.

 MEETING ADJOURNED AT 6:15 PM

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