UNIONS NSW COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES - MEETING HELD THURSDAY 14 DECEMBER 2017
IN TRADES HALL AUDITORIUM, SYDNEY AT 5:30PM.

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

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

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.

MINUTES:

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:

"That the minutes from the meeting of 7 December 2017 as circulated be received."

Com. P. Byrne (NSWNMA) seconded.

CARRIED

"That the minutes from the meeting of 7 December 2017 as circulated be adopted."

Com. B. Holmes (NSWNMA) seconded.

CARRIED

APOLOGIES:  Apologies were received and accepted for:  R. Martin (NSWNMA), T. O)'Grady (NSWNMA).

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:

"That the apologies be received and accepted."

QUESTION WITHOUT NOTICE:

Com. B. Holmes asked if the Secretary was aware that the iconic St Vincent's Hospital will close half of the beds and staff were not aware of this decision until this week?  Is the Secretary aware that this is the type of non-government organisation that the government wants to operate the Maitland Hospital?

The Secretary said he was aware of the decision and it is an indictment on the pro-privatisation stance of this government and its lack of respect for staff.  We would have had 5 private hospitals in NSW if not for the union led campaigns to keep them public.

EXECUTIVE CORRESPONDENCE:

1. From Independent Education Union (IEU):- writing to update Unions NSW on progress in the ongoing dispute between the IEU and Catholic education employers in NSW and the ACT.

Recently, IEU were advised that the employers had decided to put to a vote an EA which did not have union endorsement because it did not allow the Union to refer disputes to arbitration by the Fair Work Commission.  The proposed EA had other additional flaws.

The ballot closed on Monday evening and 88% of employees rejected the employers’ position.  Almost 50% of eligible employees voted and the result is an outstanding success for the Union and its members.

Catholic employers have heard the very clear message from their employees and we are already back to the bargaining table.  The January 2017 pay increase which employers had threatened to continue denying unless members voted yes is now flowing and employers have agreed to process back pay before Christmas.

On behalf of our 32,000 members, IEU thank Unions NSW and affiliates for the support they have given during this battle.

The IEU will continue negotiating through January and will deliver an enterprise agreement our members will be proud to endorse.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved the Executive recommendation:

 “That the correspondence be received and Unions NSW congratulates the IEU on their successful ballot of eligible members.  Unions NSW and affiliates will continue to support the IEU during this battle.”

Com. P. Noack (AWU) seconded.

CARRIED

Com. Mark. Northam spoke and said: “it felt good to push the employer backwards in this campaign against an unfair agreement.”

2.  From Shop Distributive and Allied Employee’s Association (SDA):- regarding making retail workers Christmas period a bit happier and we ask for affiliates help to spread the word.

Two gifts everyone in the public can give retail and fast food workers this Christmas is:

  1. time with family and friends
  2. respect and courtesy

The SDA NSW Branch has launched an online campaign asking customers to give retail workers time this year by consciously choosing not to shop on Boxing Day and simply wait 24 hours to shop the sales on 27th December instead.

The sales can still be a success and retail workers can have precious time with family and friends on Boxing Day. So, one gift you can give retail workers this Christmas is time by shopping the sales on 27 December. Please share this with your members.

Secondly, the SDA has today launched a national campaign to eliminate customer abuse of staff from the retail and fast food industries. Customer abuse is a growing problem in the retail and fast food industry and it is not acceptable. Over 85% of retail workers have experienced customer abuse in the last 12 months. 1 in 4 retail workers faces customer abuse every week and 1 in 3 retail workers have felt physically threatened by a customer in the last 12 months. Whether the abuse is verbal or physical it has a devastating effect on our members health. This is unacceptable and it has to stop. 

The customer is not always right. Abusing retail and fast food workers is always wrong. Workers know it’s not right, employers are increasingly aware of the problem – now we need customers to think twice.

The national campaign launched today will be online, on the radio, on billboards, buses and bus stops and on TV too. “No one deserves a serve” at work and we are calling on customers to “check their behaviour before they checkout”.

This is part of a multi-faceted campaign to address customer abuse in our industry. Attached is a copy of the first TV ad that will air in coming days. The link for the campaign website is https://au.awp.autotask.net/5/filelink/cf2zy-y2etbm-2nqbgkuk.Please distribute these to affiliates and encourage their members to respect retail workers because no one deserves a serve. 

Thank you for all your assistance throughout the year. We wish you all at Unions NSW, and all affiliates, a peaceful and Merry Christmas and an even better Boxing Day.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved the Executive recommendation: 

“That the correspondence be received and Unions NSW will support the SDA in its National Campaign to eliminate customer abuse to staff from the retail and fast food industries. 

Further, Unions NSW will circulate the information of the campaign to all affiliates.” 

Com. B. Smith (SDA) seconded.

CARRIED

Com. Bernie Smith spoke and said “the Government did the wrong thing by shop assistants by making them work this Boxing Day.  The second thing is when you are shopping be kind to shop assistants.  They are not your servant they are there to serve you.”

3. From Australian Services Union (ASU):– writing to thank you and all affiliates for their extraordinary work during the most recent sixteen days of activism to end gender based violence. By any measure this year's activities have been a great success, marked by an absolute commitment, reinforced by workplace actions across the movement in support of ten days paid domestic violence leave being included in the National Employment Standards.

There have been many highlights in this campaign. At construction sites across the state frontline domestic violence workers from the ASU addressed hundreds of construction workers each time from all construction unions on issues around domestic violence. Those construction workers, CFMEU members, not only gave up their time, but in every instance made extremely generous donations to refuges and other services supporting people living with or escaping violence. Despite the attacks on construction workers by the Prime Minister and his government, I can assure you that every delegate who spoke on those union construction sites never felt safer, or was treated with greater courtesy.

Workers from all unions, in all industries spoke to many thousands of workers at workplace meetings, public and media events across NSW between 25 November and 10 December 2017. There are now many more workplaces that are aware of the issue and some which have domestic violence policies or clauses in their agreements. This is what union members

do best - we work together to make a real difference in the lives of real people. As the momentum of our campaign continues to build I know that we can win

  • We have bargained for it in workplaces
  • We have supported members to access it
  • We have held discussions in workplaces and in the community about its importance
  • discussions that genuinely increase community awareness about family violence and our shared responsibility to end it
  • We have lobbied politicians to support it
  • We have had front line workers explain why we need it
  • We have rallied in the streets to demand it
  • We have worked together as a movement to win.

The response from the public has been overwhelming and as affiliates would be aware during this year's 16 days of activism we have gained very significant political support

Federal Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten announced that The Australian Labor Part would double their policy from five days paid leave (the policy that they took to the 2016 federal election) to 10 days in the National Employment Standards. NSW Labor Leader, Luke Foley, announced that they would ensure every single worker has access to 10 days paid leave through amending the victims of crime legislation if they form government in 2019 – a very strong and welcomed commitment.

From Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU):-  writing   to thank the ASU and it’s delegates for collaborating with us on raising awareness on domestic violence with our members in construction. At least 10000 workers participated in workplace meetings across Sydney.  

Further, it’s been a pleasure to support the We Won’t Wait Campaign. In addition, more than $10000 has been raised to support the Rape and Domestic Violence Service, Multicultural Women’s Refuge and Bonnie Support Services.  The CFMEU are very proud of our members for their continued generosity of spirit.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved the Executive recommendation:

That the correspondence be received, and Unions NSW Unions congratulates the ASU, CFMEU and all unions involved in the 16 days of activism against gendered violence.

The union movement has lead the way in the campaign for 10 days of paid domestic violence leave. Unions NSW is committed to continuing the campaign until we win a universal right for all workers to paid domestic violence leave.”

Com. J. Primrose (ASU) seconded.

CARRIED

Com. Rita Mallia spoke and said: “I want to thank the ASU for starting this campaign as we now have Domestic Violence clauses in all our EAs.  The campaign has also assisted us to talk in our male dominated workplaces about domestic violence.  I thank the ASU, Unions NSW and all affiliates for their help in this important campaign.

Com. Jan Primrose spoke and said: “The NSW union machine is an extraordinary campaigning machine and in only 2 years we have had a great impact already. 

We are almost there.  We have every Labor leader agree to 10 days domestic violence leave in minimum employment standards.”

REPORTS:

1. Bennelong By-Election Campaign

Com. Salim Barbar reported on the Bennelong By-Election and said “this is an important election, if we remove the Liberal member, the Federal government will lose their majority.  We have a lot of volunteers. I thank you all for your assistance and I thank Mary Yaager for all her hard work on this campaign also.”

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:

That the report be received and noted.”

Com. P. Noack (AWU) seconded.

CARRIED

2. Retired Unionists

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey reported and said “tonight we are celebrating our retired members and thanking them for all their hard work on our campaigns across the State.  It is a growing group, a vibrant group and an activist group.  We could not have run half the campaigns we have run without the help of our wonderful retired members.  I would also like to thank Mary Yaager for chairing and resourcing this group”.

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey moved:

That the report be received and noted.”

Com. B. Holmes (NSWNMA) seconded.

CARRIED

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

The Secretary, Com. M. Morey thanked affiliates, community LUCCs and our Retirees for their all their support throughout the year and a special thanks to the staff of Unions NSW.

The President, Com. Judith Kiejda wished all a Merry Christmas and a very happy, safe and healthy New Year and informed all that Unions NSW Meetings will resume on Thursday 1 February 2018 and invited everyone to join us in the Atrium for drinks and finger food.

MEETING ADJOURNED AT 6:05 PM

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