By Your Side Magazine Spring Summer 2023-24

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Spring–Summer 2023/24




04 Secretary’s Report

Neil Henderson explains how collaboration with the current Federal and State Governments has delivered positive outcomes for members.

06 From the Branch President Kate Cotter celebrates our Union’s wins in 2023 and outlines what’s ahead next year.

08 Executive President Analysis Jennifer Thomas writes how The Services Union continues to be a strong voice in the political arena.

10 Union Women to the Front

22 Delegate Development Trainer Jim Oliver explains how our Delegates are kicking goals after their union training.

24 Local Govt News Lead Organiser Tom Rivers tells us about the campaigns to strengthen the Local Government Industry.

28 SACS Update A look at the Disability Royal Commission recommendations and what they mean for our members.

30 Energy Insights Senior Industrial Officer Ben Ellis shows how steady and strategic campaigning gets results in the Energy Industry.

Women of The Services Union conferenced together in Brisbane to discuss our diverse workplaces and the ever changing industrial landscape.

32 Tracking in Rail

12 Celebrating Carly

33 Jetting into the Future

Congratulations to Delegate Carly Hanson who is our 2023 Emma Miller Awardee; read how she advocates for positive change.

35 Charting a New Course

14 By Your Side with Pride Pride Coordinator Darci Wanamaker shows us how we are a trailblazing union for LGBTQ+ workplace issues.

17 Leading our Union’s Future Youth Committee Coordinator Imogen Smith introduces our new Youth Vice President, Josh Bauer.

18 Solidarity in Timor Leste In August 2023, TSU’s Senior Industrial Officer Michelle Roberston travelled to Timor Leste to meet workers organising - with APHEDA.

20 Celebrating our Delegates Delegates are the backbone of our Union. See who took out our Awards this year for leadership.

Lead Organiser Danny Reeves writes about the bargaining wins at Queensland Rail.

We take a look at how our Union is taking off in the Airlines Industry.

Meet Sharone Carter, our new Ports Industry Vice President.

37 A Core Victory Our Apple members win big in their new agreement - find out how they did it.

39 Empowering Change QCU Women’s Officer Penny Spalding explains the new workplace sexual harassment laws.

40 Safer Workplaces How do we end gender based discrimination in our workplaces? Industrial Coordinator Rebecca Girard explains how.

42 Unsocial Media Hall Payne Lawyers explain how the illusion of social media privacy can be not all that it seems.

Cover: Executive President of The Services Union, Jennifer Thomas and Queensland Rail Delegate, Graciel Munez.


TSU Women’s Conference

Find out how our Union’s women are leading discussions and positive change in their workplaces & communities.

BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE PRESIDENT: Kate Cotter SECRETARY: Neil Henderson EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT: Jennifer Thomas Published by the Australian Services Union, Queensland (Services and Northern Administrative) Branch EDITOR: Neil Henderson PRINTED BY: Allclear Print + Signs T: 07 3392 7999 SERVICES CONNECT T: 07 3844 5300 F: 07 3846 5046 E: BRISBANE OFFICE 32 Peel Street (PO Box 3347) South Brisbane Q 4101 CENTRAL QUEENSLAND OFFICE 178 Quay Street (PO Box 5160) Red Hill, Rockhampton Q 4701


Paving the Path to Inclusivity

Our Pride Committee’s unwavering commitment to creating a welcoming and safe environment for LGBTQ+ people is leading the way in the Queensland Union movement.


Strengthening Local Government Find out how our members are empowering communities across Queensland by campaigning for sustainable local councils.

NORTH QUEENSLAND OFFICE 485 Flinders Street (PO Box 135) Townsville Q 4810 INDUSTRIAL TEAM: INDUSTRIAL COORDINATOR: Rebecca Girard SENIOR INDUSTRIAL OFFICERS: Jack Donaghy, Ben Ellis, Merinda Foster, Michelle Robertson LEAD INDUSTRIAL OFFICER: Jessica Wiggan INDUSTRIAL OFFICERS: Jacqui Gildea, Joseph Hall, Dylan Knight, Maddy McGinnity, Davis Murphy ORGANISING TEAM: DEVELOPMENT & SACS COORDINATOR: Justine Moran SACS SENIOR ORGANISER: Stuart Maggs SACS SENIOR ORGANISER: Tracey Coorey GOC LEAD ORGANISER: Danny Reeves GOC SENIOR ORGANISER: Brendan Parkinson LOCAL GOVT LEAD ORGANISER: Ben Jones LOCAL GOVT LEAD ORGANISER: Tom Rivers SEQ LOCAL GOVT. LEAD ORGANISER: John Denny ORGANISERS: Adam Brown, Jessica Daniels, Glenn Desmond, Wayne Inman, Annalise Krupitza, Chiara Millard, Leonie Quick, Jason Shepherd, Imogen Smith, Darci Wanamaker, Pele Wong, Jodie Wickens, Jeremy Young MEMBERSHIP TEAM: MEMBER BENEFITS LEAD ORGANISER: Juliet Salmon MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS OFFICERS: Sig Bowman, Abygail Bradley, Chevaughan Grey, Loata Han, Rose MacQueen PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION MANAGER: Zach Walsh OFFICE ADMINISTRATION MANAGER: Jane Grey ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE COORDINATOR: Cary Pollock FINANCE & GENERAL ADMININISTRATION OFFICER: Diana Sparke MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR: Belinda Hogan-Collis TRAINER: Jim Oliver ADMINISTRATION OFFICERS: Cianan Beaton, Dominic Skelton, Marylin Taylor Authorised by Neil Henderson, Branch Secretary, Australian Municipal, Administrative, Clerical and Services Union Queensland (Services and Northern Administrative) Branch, ABN 86 351 665 653. Queensland Services, Industrial Union of Employees, ABN 13 540 483 194. Trading as The Services Union.

Queensland Minister for Employment and Small Business, Minister for Training and Skills Development and Minister for Youth Justice, Di Farmer MP with Secretary of The Services Union, Neil Henderson.


The Palaszczuk Government remains steadfast in its commitment to combating domestic and family violence, seeking to achieve this through inclusive consultation.”

advancement and stability through positive collaboration By NEIL HENDERSON - Secretary As we move into a Queensland Election year in 2024, it’s worth reflecting on the remarkable achievements The Services Union has achieved through collaborative efforts with the Palaszczuk Government.


ince the election of the Palaszczuk Government in 2015, our Union has worked collaboratively with Ministers to ensure our members, across all industries, get the very best outcomes for their workplaces and communities. The Energy and Jobs Plan implementation engineered by Minster Mick DeBrenni is well under way. For our members, the key aspects of the plan are certainty, job security and jobs. Designed in consultation with our Union, other key industry unions and after much consultation with the workforce, the Queensland Energy Workers Charter lays out a roadmap that ensures a smooth transition towards a carbon-neutral future. This transition contrasts sharply with the turmoil experienced in the southern states and the potential chaos that could have ensued under the Liberal National Party (LNP) privatisation agenda if they’d been elected instead, back in 2015. That would have been disastrous, not only for our members, but for the economy and Queensland’s future. In the Social and Community Services (SACs) Industry, members now have Portable Long Service Leave. We also have five year contracts introduced by the Palaszczuk Government to enhance members’ job security and importantly, SACs organisations are now able to advocate without fear of losing funding. The Palaszczuk Government remains steadfast in its commitment to combating domestic and family violence and

seeking to achieve this through inclusive consultation. We’ve steered clear of the wholesale closures of services and defunding that marred our experiences under an LNP Government. In Queensland Rail, we have a service that we can be proud of and which is responsive to your feedback. We’ve achieved significantly improved staffing levels and successfully negotiated favourable agreements helping members’ keep up with the cost of living while maintaining a healthy worklife balance. We no longer have hundreds of workers sitting in dongers being pressured to exit the business. Our port operations continue to deliver significant economic benefits to Queensland, ensuring that members’ receive fair pay rises, excellent working conditions, and the opportunity to be consulted on matters of importance. In Local Government, we have established stability and the chance to engage in meaningful discussions with the Government. This includes modernising disciplinary procedures to ensure fair treatment, implementing effective workforce planning, and keeping your superannuation arrangements aligned with community standards. This is a stark contrast to the single letter we received during the previous Newman LNP Government. As we approach 2024, amidst the uncertainties that the world presents, it’s important to consider the prospect of four more years of stability and progress under a stable government led by Annastacia Palaszczuk. BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE 2

celebrating our wins in 2023 By KATE COTTER - Branch President 6 BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE

TSU Branch President, Kate Cotter addressing the Branch Council in September.


‘m proud to have been re-elected as President of The Services Union a few months ago and look forward to the year ahead.

Over the past 12 months and across all our industries, we’ve never lost sight of attaining what is right and just for our members – even if it’s meant numerous trips to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission or the Fair Work Commission (FWC). Our Delegates and members are to be commended for staying strong even it’s has meant taking strike action this year or balloting for strike action to get the fairest deal! In the Local Government Industry, Delegates, members, and the Local Government Team have worked tirelessly in Councils across the State making sure new Agreements surpass the previous ones. Thank you all! In the Rail Industry, we’ve seen long negotiations for the numerous new Agreements at Queensland Rail. Our members have remained strong in their resolve to achieve significant wage deals which remunerate them properly for the work they do. These wins are a testament to Rail Delegates and our Rail Organising and Industrial Team to get such incredible results. With a changing industrial landscape, due to the hard work of the Union Movement, we recently saw a 5.75% increase to the minimum wage for all Awards. This is the largest ever increase provided by the Annual Wage Review decision of the FWC. Our Social and Community Services (SACS) Industry Delegates and members are especially to be congratulated for their campaigning around this issue. Our Union has also been working collaboratively with the Minister for the NDIS, Bill Shorten MP in ensuring it is the best it can be. This has included a recent Week of Action as well as working with his office to highlight employers that are involved in member wage theft – with one case, referred by Minister Shorten’s office to the Fair Work Ombudsman. Thank you to the

whole SACS Team who work relentlessly for our members and who are creating real change for workplaces. Speaking of change - the Energy Industry continues to evolve off the back of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan. There is enormous opportunity for our Union to improve conditions for our members in upcoming Enterprise Agreement negotiations. Energy Delegates are extremely experienced and focused. I have no doubt, they will deliver great outcomes again alongside our expert Energy Organising and Industrial Team. A big thank you to them. Structural changes have also been occurring in workplaces where our Ports Industry members work. Again, our experienced Delegates have been doing a phenomenal job supporting members and deserve credit for their continued advocacy on these issues and others. This year, following the rationalisation of areas of between The Services Union and the Together Union, we now organise for Airline Operations across Queensland. We hit the ground running meeting with Delegates and members, collating the array of issues which continue to affect this Industry as well as finalising and starting Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiations. Finally – what a year our Delegates and members have had at Apple. Not only have we seen an increase in membership at this employer across the country, Apple members have a new Agreement which sees vastly improved workplace conditions for employees. To Jennifer Thomas and Neil Henderson, congratulations on another successful 12 months and for being re-elected again to steer our Union. Our Union is in safe, stable, and experienced hands. Thank you to Jennifer for also steering our Women’s Committee. I would also like to give a special thanks to former Deputy President Ronnee

Meachen for her time and dedication to this role and for all the incredible hard work she has put into leading our Union, especially in the Energy Industry. To all Branch Councillors and our Executive – thank you for your time and tenacity, and for always being by the side of your workmates. I would also to like to thank our Member Benefits Team who recruited over 200 members last financial year as well as signing hundreds of members up with our loyal partners. To our Industrial Team who closed close to 3000 individual cases and retrieved $3.1 million for our members in the past financial year! What an incredible effort! To our Administration, Finance and Communications Teams - thank you for your all your hard work and support again this past year. I’d like to also thank Imogen Smith, our Youth Committee Coordinator and Darci Wanamaker, our Pride Coordinator. Both Imogen and Darci have worked extremely hard again over the past 12 months growing and building these two committees. They have both ensured we are the trailblazing Union for Youth and Pride issues in the Queensland Union Movement. Congratulations and thank you to our 2023 Life Members who have worked tirelessly for our Union over decades: Calvin Berryman, Les Calder and Lorraine Walter. We wish you all well in your retirements. Congratulations also to our Delegate of the Year, Terese Tobin, our Emerging Delegate of the Year Angus Trusler, our Tehanne DenhamJarvis Awardee, Jen Davis, our Emma Miller Awardee, Carly Hanson and our Queensland Unions inaugural Pride Awardee, Beck Agius. I wish all members a wonderful holiday period. Enjoy your welldeserved break with family and friends, and I look forward to working with you all again in 2024. BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE 7

from left: Delegate,Terese Kingston, Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke MP and Executive President, Jennifer Thomas.

lobbying to ensure members’ expertise is recognised By JENNIFER THOMAS - Executive President 8 BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE

Above: Caption

The Services Union continues to be a strong voice in the political arena as we lobby to ensure our members are professionally recognised for their work and service delivery.


he Community and Disability sector is a historically undervalued, woman-dominated industry and for decades, our members have campaigned for industrial conditions that recognise their professional skills and their essential contribution to Australian society.

provides clear pathways for career progression.

Unfortunately, despite winning Australia’s first equal remuneration order in 2012, our members’ work is still systematically undervalued.


These workers deserve to be valued for their professional skills and the experience they bring to their communities, with pathways that enable career progression. With this in mind our plan is to make applications to the Fair Work Commission to address the following issues: •

Fix the classification structure in the Social Community Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award (SCHDS Award) to ensure that the skills and expertise of our members are recognised and valued; Close the longstanding loophole in the SCHDS Award that allows disability support workers to be wrongly classified and underpaid as ‘home care workers’; and Establishing minimum pay and employment standards for platform workers in the NDIS (pursuant to the Government reform to close the loopholes on platform work).

FIXING THE CLASSIFICATION STRUCTURE The classification structure for Community and Disability Sector workers was made in 1993 and reflects the prejudices of that era. For example, the classification structure references administrative tasks (preparing cash statements) and personal care tasks (cooking and cleaning) but does not reference a single sector-specific duty or skill. Furthermore, conflict de-escalation is an essential skill for many community and disability sector workers, but it’s never recognised in the classifications structure. The classification definitions have never properly recognised the duties, skills and experience of our members. This has created loopholes that allow employers and funding agencies to under classify employees and pay them less than they deserve. We want a clear and unambiguous classification system, that recognises our members’ skills and duties, and

Varying the Award to include appropriate detail capturing the full range of skills exercised by community disability sector workers will ensure that this type of abuse cannot happen in the future.

For too long, disability workers have been undervalued and underpaid due to the ‘home care’ loophole in the SCHDS Award. Many disability employers exploit the definition of home care by misclassifying disability support workers as home care workers under Schedule E of the SCHDS Award. This loophole allows the employer to pay their employees as little as $24 per hour while claiming the full NDIS price. Our Union will ask the Fair Work Commission to close the loophole by deleting the reference to people with disability in the SCHDS Award definition of ‘home care’.

PROTECTING NDIS PLATFORM WORKERS Our Union also intends to bring an application in the Fair Work Commission’s new gig worker jurisdiction to ensure all disability support workers are protected by the same minimum standards for pay and working conditions and all disability providers have a level playing field. In the Local Government Industry, our Union will also take the first step in making an application to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to strengthen our Queensland Local Government Industry Award to: • •

Reinstate the three classification streams: Administrative, Technical or Community Services. Reinstate fast-track incremental progression for graduates that was removed during Award modernisation. Pay locality allowances at First Nations Councils in areas like Torres Strait Island Regional Council or Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council. Improve union delegate rights.

There’s a lot of work being done behind the scenes to make the positive changes, needed. What all members can be assured about is that no matter who’s in government, our Union is respected and heard! BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE 7

union women to the front

After more than three years without the opportunity for face-to-face meetings, the women of The Services Union gathered in Brisbane at the end of August to engage in discussions about our varied workplaces and the continuously evolving industrial environment.


iversity and inclusion stand as core values of The Services Union. As an organisation in a state of continuous evolution, our Branch Executive recently made operational adjustments to better embody these principles. These changes have resulted in the establishment of a Vice President for Diversity, Ronnee Meachen, along with dedicated Branch Councillors representing various demographics: Women (Carly Hanson), Youth (Joshua Bauer), Pride (Beck Agius), First Nations Peoples (Cheryl Cockin), and Disability (Toni Drever). We recognise that, as a union, embracing diversity is not merely a metric, but a means to foster innovation, cultivate harmony, and enhance our decision-making processes. In pursuit of these ideals, the women within our Union convened at the 2023 Women’s Conference to engage in discussions, listen, and learn how to foster more inclusive workplaces. Among the agenda items, Beck and Carly, alongside our Branch President Kate Cotter, shared their success stories in advancing these objectives within their respective workplaces: Community Legal Centres Queensland, Energy Queensland, and Mackay Regional


Council, respectively. Delegates at the conference, like Graciel Munez, a Queensland Rail Delegate, says she relished the opportunity to connect and network with women from diverse backgrounds who shared similar values and aspirations. “Despite our various roles in the workplace, our discussions regarding our aspirations for a safer and more inclusive work environment for all were remarkably consistent,” she says. Guest speakers included WorkSafe Director, Kerriann Dear who discussed Queensland’s new Psychosocial Code of Practice, Queensland Council of Unions Women’s Officer Penny Spalding who delivered Sexual Harassment training under the new legislation, Director of Working Women Queensland, Jill McKay who spoke about the service and our loyal partner, HESTA Super Fund also attended. Delegate Terese Kingston enjoyed the chance to learn about new legislation. “The opportunity to get ahead of changes in legislation so we can get the best results for working women was excellent,” she says. “I’ve taken so much information back to my workplace about sexual harassment in the workplace and psychosocial hazards at work - to empower other members in working towards change.”

I think it’s important for women unionists to come together at a conference like this to share our knowledge and common experience, to stand in solidarity together. I have left feeling so inspired by my comrades who have been working for change and achieving so much. I love being part of this history and this movement.”

Delegate Terese Kingston

I feel it is important to have that connection with other women unionists for growth, development and understanding. I am always hungry for more knowledge in an area that challenges me. As the saying goes, we learn something new everyday, and that’s the same when you network and collaborate with other people. You gain new wisdom.” Delegate Graciel Munez


celebrating carly Congratulations to our Delegate Carly Hanson who is our Emma Miller Awardee for 2023.


ueensland Council of Unions has proudly hosted the Emma Miller Awards since 1997, paying tribute to the indomitable spirit of Emma Miller, a fervent champion of workers’ and women’s rights in Queensland. These awards, which were hosted recently, serve to honour the remarkable achievements of contemporary union women and commend rank and file female members for their unwavering dedication and accomplishments. Carly is The Services Union’s Emma Miller Awardee for 2023. She’s a qualified lawyer with an interest in human rights and access to justice, governance and the sustainability of non-profit organisations. Carly is also an advocate for worker well-being and equality for women. She’s been involved with the Social and Community Services (SACS) Industry since 2008 and currently works as a Sector Sustainability Coordinator at Community Legal Centres Queensland (CLCQ). Before starting with CLCQ, Carly held paid and volunteer positions in the SACS Industry, including positions at Working Women Queensland/Basic Rights Queensland and the Women’s Legal Service. In her role, Carly assists members in delivering effective, high-quality services to their respective communities. She also lends her support to bolster the organisational capacity of member organisations, overseeing accreditation and quality improvement processes to elevate professional standards. Additionally, Carly spearheads projects and initiatives aimed at fostering innovative and collaborative services. Carly has been a dedicated member of our Union since 2016, and she has served as a Delegate at CLCQ for the past five years. She’s also been an active member of the SACS Industry Division Committee (IDC) for the last few years and previously served as a Delegate at the Women’s Legal Service. Carly played a significant role in advocating for Portable Long Service Leave within the SACS Industry. Her efforts included attending meetings with Queensland MPs as a Delegate, participating in the Office of Industrial Relations Taskforce, crafting submissions on behalf of the community legal sector, and testifying before the Queensland Parliamentary Committee during the examination of the Community Services Industry (Portable Long Service Leave) Bill 2019. We extend our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Carly for her outstanding contributions and commitment to our Union and for working people.


Carly played a significant role in advocating for Portable Long Service Leave within the SACS Industry. Her efforts included attending meetings with Queensland MPs as a Delegate, participating in the Office of Industrial Relations Taskforce, crafting submissions on behalf of the community legal sector, and testifying before the Queensland Parliamentary Committee during the examination of the Community Services Industry (Portable Long Service Leave) Bill 2019.”

by your side with pride

By DARCI WANAMAKER Pride Coordinator

from left: TSU Pride Coordinator and Organiser, Darci Wanamaker, QCU Women’s Officer, Penny Spalding, Delegate and Pride Award winner Beck Agius, Secretary, Neil Henderson and Secretary of the QNMU, Kate Veach at the inaugural QCU Pride Awards.


In 2023, The Services Union worked alongside other Queensland unions to deliver a long-awaited rainbow dream: the inaugural Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) Pride Awards.


n September, union members from across Queensland convened to commemorate the resilience of LGBTQ+ and gender diverse workers and to celebrate the accomplishments within workplaces across the State.

This is the first awards ceremony of many to come, and it was incredibly empowering to see a room full of proud LGBTQ+ and gender diverse workers and allies! The Union Pride Awards are made up of two categories: Best Union Campaign and Outstanding Activist. Members of The Services Union from various industries were nominated. We are immensely proud of the passionate activism and leadership demonstrated by our members. The recipient of this year’s Outstanding Activist Award within our Union is Beck Agius, who is employed at Energy Queensland Limited (EQL) in Rockhampton. Congratulations to Beck! The substantial number of members who nominated Beck speaks volumes about her prominence in the LGBTQ+ Pride community and her standing within our Union. Known for her unwavering activism within EQL, as well as at industry and community levels, Beck initiated an LGBTQ+ working group and has been offered the role of leading EQL Pride. Through her advocacy and support for fellow union members across various sectors, she has inspired others, particularly LGBTQ+ members, to step forward and become Delegates.

Beck also played a significant role in the Marriage Equality campaign in Rockhampton and has undertaken MATES In Construction mental health and suicide prevention training to assist her colleagues. Notably, Beck serves as our firstever LGBTQ+ Branch Councillor. Furthermore, Beck has been actively involved in our Union’s Pride Committee, and it’s fair to say that her persistence and drive have substantially revitalized the group. Beck is honoured to have received this award. “Thanks to the QCU for creating these amazing awards and for my union for establishing a safe space on the Branch Council for LGBTIQ+ folk to be represented in our structure,” she says. “To all the union staff who helped me on my Delegate journey, to EQL for recognising the need for diversity representation and working parties to create change and foremost my amazing wife for supporting me in my union and diversity work.” Our Union also won the Best Union Campaign for our We Are Everywhere campaign. This is such a wonderful achievement, and our Pride Committee should be so proud of their work! We also recently marched at Brisbane Pride and flew the Queensland Unions banner high. After such a great year, it’s important to celebrate these wins, but our Union knows there is still a lot of work to be done. So, as 2023 ends and we prepare for 2024, remember this: The Services Union stands by your side with pride! BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE 15

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josh, leading the future of our union By IMOGEN SMITH Youth Committee Coordinator Describing himself as a nerd who never grew out of his 2009 emo faze, our new Youth Vice President Josh Bauer aims to establish new pathways for young union members to get active and involved.


fter receiving an email inviting members to join The Services Union’s Youth Committee, Josh Bauer jumped at the chance to get involved. He’s since been elected as the new Vice President of the Youth Committee! Working in the Local Government Industry as an Application Security Engineer, Josh stepped up and became a Delegate assisting members individually and through collective bargaining. He says wanting to make his workplace better was the motivator. “The first time I represented a member will always stick with me,” Josh says. “Just by being there the tone went from being disciplinary to management saying ‘what can I do for you’ to our member. Our attendance there saved the member a lot of unnecessary stress and from being unjustly punished.”

Youth issues and representation are at the forefront for Josh who says many workplace issues such as workforce casualisation, climate change, housing and the lack of upward mobility, affect youth in disproportionate ways. Although generally young people have less of a voice in management to push for fair change, our Union’s Youth Committee ensures they have a real seat at the table. Josh says the highlight for him has been seeing the process of getting feedback from our Union’s Youth Survey last year. “We’re now putting the survey results into logs of claims going out to different employers,” Josh says. “We now have climate change and reproductive leave provisions in our standard log of claims which shows me young members have a voice at our Union.” If you’re a member of our Union, under 35 years of age there is a place for you to have a voice wherever you live. Please get it touch at: BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE


solidarity in timor leste

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA took 12 members to Timor Leste for a week in August 2023 to visit its projects and meet with union leaders, women and farmers who are organising for change. Senior Industrial Officer from The Services Union, Michelle Roberston was one of the participants who also had the opportunity to meet Prime Minister of Timor Leste, Xanana Gusmao.

M working rights.

ichelle along with other participants firstly met with women from the APHEDA-supported Working Women’s Centre, who work with domestic workers to improve their

Notably, they recently achieved a substantial triumph in their pursuit of a national minimum wage for domestic workers. The newly elected government has pledged swift legislative support for this cause. Michelle found the visit to the Working Women’s Centre deeply inspiring. “We learned about how the Centre organises women workers in the informal sector which includes housekeepers, nannies, and cleaners working in private homes. The Centre provides practical skills to be used on the job but also teaches about workers rights and how to exercise them when in the workplace,” Michelle explains. “Importantly,


the Centre has been campaigning, and has been successful, for these workers to receive at least the minimum wage!” The group also explored several APHEDA-supported agricultural projects outside of Dili. They encountered farmers who are addressing the challenges posed by an insecure food system, climate change, and the high cost of importing food by forming unions and food cooperatives. In these projects, young people acquire farming skills, knowledge of land laws, and political education. “Understanding land laws is a crucial skill to ensure fair land distribution after over four centuries of foreign occupation,” Michelle says. Given the significant food security concerns in Timor-Leste, the delegation also met coffee growers who are establishing connections with Earthworker Cooperative to sell their

Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Xanana Gusmao and Senior Industrial Officer, Michelle Roberston at Government Palace. Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Xanana Gusmao in a TSU shirt.

coffee to Australians at fair prices. Although Timor-Leste has a rich history of coffee cultivation, there is now a push to diversify and reduce dependence on a single source of income by cultivating a variety of vegetables and fruits for local consumption. Farmers from Uniaun Agrikultores Ermera-UNAER explained their efforts to educate farmers on modern agricultural practices, politics, and economics, as well as their campaign for land reform to improve access to food for all Timorese people. The delegation also had the privilege of meeting Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao at Government Palace. He expressed how the solidarity demonstrated by the Australian people during their struggle for independence had given the Timorese people the confidence to persevere. Prime Minister Gusmao emphasised that Timor-Leste now reciprocates by showing solidarity with other nations. Michelle described Prime Minister Gusmao as exceedingly welcoming and he also expressed his gratitude to the

Australian Trade Movement, which had supported and continued to support Timorese independence. “After our meeting, Prime Minister Gusmao convened a well-attended press conference to again explain the importance of trade unions in work struggles and in solidarity struggles,” Michelle says. “That news story was the lead story on the Timor evening news that day. I also presented him with a Services Union t-shirt. He immediately put it on over his business shirt and proudly wore it to the press conference. I also presented him with a Services Union pen.” Michelle regards the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister as a great honour. “I’ve wanted to meet him since the 1980s, when I first learned about the fight for independence, his capture and imprisonment by Indonesia, and the emergence of the independent nation of Timor-Leste,” she said. “He exemplifies courage, integrity, and compassion.” The Services Union wholeheartedly

supports APHEDA and encourages all members to engage in aiding Union Aid Abroad. Michelle says in Australia we value the ability for our Union to fight for good working conditions and respect for employees at work. “APHEDA works to ensure workers in other countries are also treated with dignity and respect,” Michelle says. “All Union members should support APHEDA to show in a practical way that international solidarity is our business.”

Live your union values, live your solidarity! The work of building global solidarity depends upon the contributions of thousands of Australian union members and internationalists. To help build the power of social movements and workers globally, join Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA! https://


terese takes the spotlight as our delegate of the year


from left: Delegate of the Year, Terese Tobin with Vice President for Ports, Sharone Carter.

ongratulations to our Delegate of the Year, Terese Tobin from Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC).

Terese works as an Environment Specialist for Maintenance Dredging, Quarries, and Major Projects. She’s been a member of our Union for a decade at GPC and a Union Delegate for the past four years. Terese became a Delegate at a time she was being unfairly targeted in her workplace; a case which ended up in a dispute - which our Union won! Terese is an extremely active advocate for members’ rights in her workplace. She galvanised the salaried officers to act collectively in pursuit of better outcomes through bargaining. She’s continued over the past year to capitalise on those achievements in working with her fellow Delegates to


ensure all Salaried Officer members were able to negotiate beneficial individual working hours arrangements. More recently, Terese has taken on a role coordinating Delegates at the Port to build a more cohesive and active workplace prior to bargaining. She also represents members with their issues, and she’s currently assisting First Nations members to ensure the value of their work is properly recognised. Without Terese’ tireless efforts, our Union wouldn’t have grown our membership, or achieved the full extent of industrial outcomes over the past 12 months. Terese says she feels humbled to be recognised for her efforts. “I’m still on a euphoric ride after being named,” says Terese. “It’s an amazing feeling that what we do collectively counts.”

jen steps up and takes a lead at QR


ongratulations to Delegate Jen Davis who has been won our Tehanne-Denham Jarvis Award for 2023.

Tehanne, our former Rail Industry Vice President, made significant contributions to our Executive and union. Her passing in 2021 marked the loss of a dear friend and supporter to both our Union and the Rail Industry. This award is a tribute to her memory.

from left: Delegate Jen Davis with Vice President for Rail, Andrew Somerville.

Jen joined Queensland Rail (QR) in 2020 as a Porter and became a member of our Union shortly thereafter. She quickly became a Delegate demonstrating dedication and leadership. During her time at South Brisbane Station, she tirelessly advocated for improved rosters for Porters. This lengthy campaign eventually led to the implementation of a new roster system which offered better work-life balance!

our rising star, angus


ongratulations to our Emerging Delegate of the Year from Central Highlands Regional Council – Angus Trusler

Angus became a member of our Union two years ago and has since taken on the lead Delegate role in his workplace, achieving a remarkable 20% increase in membership. He’s been instrumental in fostering active engagement among members, offering critical support to those encountering significant distress, and facilitating access to flexible work arrangements. On top of all this, Angus has developed new union posters, helped map his workplace, encouraged other members to take the step up to become Delegates, provided information and education to members about their rights at work and coordinated our 2023 Blackwater Labour Day celebrations.

from left: Secretary, Neil Henderson, Delegate Angus Trusler, Manager Stakeholder Engagement at Energy Super, Matthew Hogno and Executive President, Jennifer Thomas.

Additionally, Angus is a strong advocate for members dealing with psychosocial hazards and unfair treatment, ensuring that their concerns are effectively addressed and that measures are in place to safeguard their health and well-being. “Being able to help those in need is very rewarding as well as securing the correct pay for a member, or helping a member find their voice when they’re not being heard is also very rewarding,” Angus says. Thank-you Angus for all your incredible work assisting members.

Recently, Jen has been actively involved in Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiations with QR management as part of the committee working on the Station Operations Enterprise Agreement. Jen is now working as a Porter at Bowen Hills Station and is enjoying the new work location and the mentoring of new Delegates. Jen believes, having a strong presence of union women in the workplace is essential for effective advocacy of important issues and the pursuit of equality. Jen says, “Considering that we spend a significant portion of our lives at work, being a Delegate is a positive way to make a difference and have a voice.” Thank you Jen for all your advocacy! BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE


active delegates get results By JIM OLIVER - Trainer Organiser The Services Union’s Delegate Training Program is going from strength to strength with nearly 150 Delegates attending either the Core Skills for New Delegates course or an online training session in 2023.


t’s evident that the most favourable outcomes are achieved when Delegates take ownership of their learning and development, actively applying the skills they’ve acquired immediately after training. It’s also been wonderful to see our Delegates be proactive in creating positive change in their workplaces, recruiting new colleagues to The Services Uion and representing members when they have an issue. In Rockhampton, our Delegates Mel Clark and Serah Bjornstad from Energy Queensland Limited attended Core Skills training at the end of July. The very next day, they joined forces with three other Delegates and successfully recruited nine new union members during a membership blitz. Similarly, Queensland Rail Delegate Graciel Munez, after her training, recruited an impressive 10 new members and offered unwavering support to members dealing with both individual and collective concerns. Graciel attributes her success to her ability to “...listen to identify issues and understand what matters to people.” Meanwhile, our Brisbane City Council 22 BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE

(BCC) Delegate, Rob Mollison, advocated for improved rostering arrangements for officers trained in fire management, while his colleague, Delegate James Harper, initiated discussions with the Senior Management Team within his division, highlighting the significance of mental health and wellbeing policies and procedures. James is also instrumental in establishing effective Health and Safety Representative structures. Notably, rank and file members in Local Government have stepped up to champion issues of shared importance. For instance, our BCC member, Craig Hardie, represented fellow members at the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission in August, preventing the loss of commuter vehicle privileges for members. What a win! The Training and Development Team is currently in the planning stages for 2024, with a commitment to tailoring the program to meet the evolving needs and challenges faced by Delegates in supporting members at work. If you have any feedback or suggestions regarding additional training for next year’s program, or interested in participating please don’t hesitate to contact us at

Rockhampton Delegates at a recent Core Skills Training session.



strengthening local government for a sustainable future By TOM RIVERS - Lead Organiser Collective strength has seen our Local Government members gain considerable gains through their campaigning and enterprise bargaining negotiations across Queensland.


his year, one of our Union’s top priorities has been to make sure that Queensland Local Councils stay strong, well-supported, and sustainable. This is crucial to enable our members to keep providing essential services to their communities. Our Union’s Lifting Local Libraries Campaign is a fantastic initiative created by library members who want

to ensure that the hard work they do is recognised and properly rewarded. The main goal of this campaign is to make sure that library employees are placed in roles that match their skills and experience. It’s only fair that the work library staff do is classified at Level Two of our Award, not Level One.

Two and have made Level Two the starting point for library staff positions. We’re also making headway with Logan Council, and we’ve started the process with Tablelands, Moreton Bay, and Cairns. We’re hopeful that Gladstone Regional Council will be the next cab off the rank.

We’ve made significant progress with this campaign. The Central Highlands Regional Council and Banana Shire Council have already agreed to upgrade their Level One library staff to Level

If you work in libraries and want to get more involved you are welcome to join our member run Library Network which has been set up to better coordinate and collaborate across Queensland.

Members at Strathpine Library are campaigning for better recognition.


Members in Local Government have managed to secure some pretty significant wage increases this year through their negotiations. Employees in North Burnett, Charters Towers, and Longreach Regional Councils have secured wage increases ranging from 14% to 15% over a three-year period. These substantial pay rises are a significant victory for members residing in regions where the rising cost of living has a significant impact. Meanwhile, members at Sunshine Coast Council were able to achieve a 15% wage over three years with a $800 sign-on bonus, increase to on-call allowance to $60 and parental leave to 14 weeks. Members overwhelming voted in favour and again this result shows what union membership can achieve. In the Bulk Water Sector, our Union successfully concluded bargaining with both Sunwater and Seqwater, delivering the maximum possible pay increases under the Government Owned Corporation Wages Policy, with no trade-offs of conditions. In the Retail Sector, our members at Urban Utilities Scientific Analytical Services achieved an average of 10% over a one-year deal plus upward reclassification and a sign-on bonus of $3000. These are great outcomes made possible through member engagement and campaigning. As we move into a Queensland Election year, it’s important to note that the consultation provisions we have in all our Local Government Agreements certified after July 2017 clearly state that Councils must ensure that they consult with staff and their relevant Union if any major changes are proposed. The Palaszczuk Government inserted this into the Industrial Relations Act 2016! from left: Member Raph Prasetyo and Delegate Kristy Portas from Gympie Regional Council are campaigning to ensure a strong and viable industry.

This is one law we don’t want to lose in the Local Government Industry!


campaigning for equitable locality allowances

Members from Northern Peninsula Area regional Council, Bamaga are campaigning to ensure they receive locality allowances to deal with the cost of living.


Strength in numbers and an application to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission will hopefully see workers at some Far North Queensland Councils receive the Locality Allowances they deserve in 2024.


embers of the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (NPARC) and Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) are currently engaged in ongoing negotiations for their new Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBA), with a significant emphasis on locality allowance.

Unlike their colleagues in other regional and remote Councils, our members at NPARC and TSIRC unfairly don’t receive the Steam A Award Locality Allowance which is vital for the sustainability of the Councils themselves. The cost of living in these areas is exorbitant, with members highlighting what would cost $30 at a Cairns supermarket easily costs double or sometimes triple the amount in these remote parts of Queensland. With this is mind, The Services Union (as part of its Strengthening Local Government Campaign) is advocating strongly for Locality Allowances to be implemented in these two councils. We are currently pursuing a change to the Award in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) that would see both NPARC and TSIRC having to pay a locality allowance to indoor staff. In September, Local Government Lead Organiser for our Union, Tom Rivers visited Far North Queensland, to directly listen to the concerns our members do have about the cost of living in their communities. One member from NPARC in Bamaga says that a Locality Allowance would make a huge amount of difference because, “... I am currently living pay to pay.” Another member from NPARC says, ...‘I have no savings left with the current cost of living crisis and I am limited with what activities I can afford for my kids.” If our application to the QIRC is successful it could see members benefit up from $156 to $334 extra per fortnight! Tom’s visit also culminated in over 20 workers joining our Union. “We know good things can happen when we work together and that is why we are working with members at both councils to ensure they receive wages they deserve,” Tom says “We look forward to hopefully a positive outcome from the QIRC in 2024.” BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE 27

disability royal commission secure jobs equal quality services

Services Union (ASU) has urged all governments to immediately start implementing recommendations. The Royal Commission has supported a range of workforce solutions, including portable training and leave entitlements for disability support workers and the need for a review of the Social Community, Home Care and Disability Services (SCHDS) Award to close the loopholes where disability support workers are not properly paid for the work they do; all issues ASU members have long advocated for. ASU National Secretary Robert Potter said the report had acknowledged that a highly skilled and qualified workforce that was capable of delivering high quality and individualised services was critical to the success of the system.

Members from Wesley Mission are campaigning to ensure jobs within the NDIS are secure and paid appropriately.

The Disability Royal Commission findings back up what ASU members have been saying for years!


n April 2019, the Australian Government established the Disability Royal Commission with a crucial mission: to investigate and address the widespread issues faced by people with disabilities across the nation.

“Our members who are NDIS workers provide invaluable support to more than 500,000 people living with a disability but flaws in the system have made it difficult to recruit and retain workers,” Robert says. “As the evidence from both Australia and internationally shows, the quality of disability services is dependent upon high-quality employment standards, job security, and training.” For some time now, the ASU has been campaigning for an ongoing portable training scheme in all states and territories enabling disability workers to regularly access training opportunities and build credentials in specialised topics and sub-disciplines over the course of their careers and our Union is pleased to see the Royal Commission support this call to action.

After years of rigorous inquiry, the Commission has released its findings, shedding light on the systemic challenges that have hindered the rights, well-being, and full participation of Australians with disabilities. The final report by the Royal Commission included an extensive range of recommendations including the introduction of an Australian Disability Rights Act, a minister for disability inclusion and a department of disability equality and inclusion.

“An investment such as this will lead to a more highly skilled and engaged workforce, more successful recruitment and retention by service providers, and much higher-quality service provision to people with disabilities,” says Robert.

The Commission agreed that workforce shortages had reached crisis levels from the combination of low pay, stressful conditions and the growing demand for services which have all contributed to worker disillusionment. Due to the direct connection between secure and stable jobs and quality services, the Australian

Our Union is committed to continuing to work with people with disability to make sure that all recommendations are implemented.


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steady and strategic in the BEN ELLIS energy industry By Senior Industrial Officer Positive collaboration with employers and government coupled with professional industrial support is what achieves positive outcomes for our members working in the Energy Industry.


he Services Union continues to actively improve members’ workplace conditions through enterprise bargaining and individual industrial advocacy in the Energy Industry.

Our core bargaining claims across the industry are focused on: 1. Achieving meaningful wage increases to not only make wages competitive, but to make Queensland energy workers some of the best paid in the country. 2. Improving work life balance by: • increasing leave balances; • reducing working hours; and • improving flexibility. 3. Improving retention within organisations with clauses focused on rewarding service.

time; however, it appears there could be light at the end of the tunnel for both negotiations soon and we now have an ‘in principle agreement’ at Kogan Creek. Our advocacy at the Fair Work Commission during a bargaining conference and constructive dialogues with the Palaszczuk Government have been instrumental in achieving this outcome at Kogan Creek. The Callide Power Station Enterprise Agreement is set to expire in February 2024, and we are currently preparing for the upcoming negotiation. Our dedicated Callide Delegates have been actively crafting the log of claims and garnering support from our members. Over the next few months, our Union will continue to be busy with bargaining while also achieving positive industrial outcomes for our members.

At Energy Queensland Limited (EQL), our Union played a pivotal role in halting the pursuit of an alleged overpayment to network operators and fault officers, exceeding $170,950. We effectively presented a compelling industrial argument during a meeting with the CEO, ultimately dissuading the business from pursuing the overpayment. Simultaneously, Powerlink unilaterally altered the CPI adjustment provision in the 2020 Enterprise Agreement (EA), without proper consultation or notification to the bargaining parties, resulting in a disadvantage to our members. As a response, our Union along with other unions, lodged a dispute with Powerlink at the Fair Work Commission. Additionally, we communicated a well-founded industrial argument to Powerlink, persuading them to align their CPI adjustment with that of EQL. As per our estimations, this adjustment will benefit our Powerlink members by approximately $1,350,000.00 next year. Throughout the year, our Union has been diligently negotiating improved wages and conditions within the Energy Industry. Negotiations have commenced at Powerlink, with our Union actively participating in preliminary discussions at EQL. Our thorough preparation has positioned us well to engage effectively with both businesses regarding our claims. Our Union has also been involved in negotiations for both the CS Energy Corporate Office and Kogan Creek Power Station. These negotiations have been ongoing for some 301 BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE

from left: Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen MP, Secretary Neil Henderson and Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement, Mick de Brenni MP meet to discuss the Energy and Jobs Plan.

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QR members at Cleveland Station worked hard to ensure positive EBA outcomes for their industry.

all aboard: QR members on track DANNY REEVES with new EBAs By Lead Organiser After a lengthy and sometimes heated bargaining period, members at Queensland Rail secure unprecedented wage increases to help cope with the cost of living crisis


n The Services Union’s 2023 Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) campaign with Queensland Rail (QR), our primary objectives were to improve working conditions and secure wage increases to help our members cope with the current high cost of living. The negotiations were protracted and occasionally contentious, involving several instances of Protected Industrial Action by our Union and others. Throughout the process, our Delegates remained resolute in their pursuit of fair agreements, ultimately achieving substantial wage increases ranging from 18% to 25% over a three-year period for their fellow employees. These wage increases represent an unprecedented achievement at QR. All six EBAs have now been tentatively agreed to, and the process of drafting them is completed. We’ll conduct staff presentations to highlight the changes within each EBA. Our goal is to ensure that our members receive a comprehensive


explanation tailored to their specific job roles, along with distributing copies for review prior to the endorsement ballots. We’ll keep our members informed about the timelines for these steps and are committed to expediting these tasks so that our members can benefit as soon as possible, including receiving guaranteed back pay starting from March 1, 2023. In addition to the wage increases, our members have also secured improved working conditions related to roster stability, enhanced options for employees seeking flexible work arrangements, and a clearer definition of day work and the distribution of working hours. Vice President for Rail, Andrew Somerville says the amazing outcomes are due to union strength. “The combined Rail Unions knew that QR would try to drag out the negotiations to derail our unified approach, but as a collective we combated this approach by staying united and focused on achieving the claims for our members.”

taking off in the airlines industry

from left: Lead Industrial Officer, Jessica Wiggan, Secretary Neil Henderson and Organiser Jessica Daniels are committed to assisting and representing members in the Airlines Industry.

It’s been wonderful meeting our new members in the Airlines Industry over the past six months and we look forward campaigning and organising in 2024.


t’s been six months since The Services Union took flight, becoming the ASU Branch for all airline employees in Queensland and while there’s been a little bit of turbulence, the transition has been relatively smooth.

Thank you to everyone for your patience and we are ready to fully take off next year! It’s been great getting around and meeting members and there will be plenty more of that in 2024. We’re also in the process of adjusting our industry division representative structure so members can have input into our Union’s operations. All of the major airline operators now have new agreements in place and we’re now starting on smaller airlines and contractors. The exciting thing next year, will be the use of the amendments to the Fair Work Act to deliver what we hope will be much better outcomes from negotiations. Importantly, our experiences next year will mean that we will be ready to utilise all of the new tools we have available when the next round of agreements with the Qantas Group and Virgin kick off. Our members in Qantas continue to have a number of issues concerning the application of the Enterprise Agreement and rostering. It’s time for Qantas to have a serious look at the way it’s interacting with its staff. Some of the disputes we’ve had recently have involved Qantas taking positions which simply aren’t supported by the terms of the Agreement. We know Qantas must be having a bit of a navel gaze at the moment so they should be taking the time to reflect on this. It’s not the first time Qantas management has participated in poor behaviour - as those members with long service would know. It was twenty years ago that the airline looked at outsourcing customer service; a decision as foolish as the outsourcing of the baggage handling that Qantas is about to pay the price for. If you ever need assistance please get in touch with us at Services Connect on (07) 3844 5300.


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steering the ports industry to new horizons Our Ports Industry Vice President Sharone Carter is passionate about building positive relationships across workplaces and increasing union membership in her new role.


harone Carter, our newly elected Ports Vice President (VP), brings a wealth of experience to her role, having dedicated 22 years of her career to the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation.

Taking over from long term Ports VP and colleague Debbie McDonald who recently retired, Delegate Sharone says she always been interested in workplace relations putting her hand up at every opportunity to enhance the culture of her workplace. “I am on several social and workplace committees so when I was approached by Debbie about five years ago to be her understudy, it was a natural transition,” Sharone explains. “Debbie saw me as someone who cares about others and the business. She knew there was going to be a time that she would retire and being a passionate union Delegate herself, wanted to ensure that when she did leave, she was leaving her legacy in good hands. My aim is to make her proud.”

Trail in the Northern Territory and will be hiking the Tour Du Mont Blanc in France in 2024 once again raising money for QCC.” Known for her people skills, Sharone is committed to ensuring that everyone receives fair treatment and job security. Additionally, she is eager to foster strong relationships with fellow union Delegates and members within her industry. “I am looking forward to building a working relationship with Delegate Terese Tobin from Gladstone Ports Corporation with the view of sharing issues and solutions between the ports and increasing membership numbers,” Sharone explains. “Although, I am very new to the role I eagerly look forward to expanding my knowledge and supporting our members.” ,

Sharone’s role as Property Coordinator entails overseeing leasing activities for four ports, encompassing negotiations, lease management, and the processing of invoices for land rents and outgoings. “This is from negotiating and managing leases to processing invoicing for land rents and outgoings,” she says. “After hours I am also a part of our Port's ships line handling team; here I change from a corporate uniform to steel caps and hard hat where I can be seen tying ships up along a wharf or sending them off back to sea.” Beyond her demanding work at the Port, Sharone is an avid outdoors enthusiast, a passionate hiker a dedicated fundraiser for the Queensland Cancer Council (QCC). “As part of my fundraising, I have taken on some long distance hikes,” Sharone says. “In 2022 I hiked the Larapinta

Ports Vice President, Sharone Carter with Executive President, Jennifer Thomas.

crunch time ends with sweeter conditions at Apple


ASU members stuck together against tech giant Apple to win improved conditions in a new agreement. fter a hearing before the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in October, Apple’s dedicated members successfully obtained a hard-earned new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA). This EBA substantially enhances the working conditions for employees compared to the industry minimums outlined in the General Retail Industry Award 2020 and Clerks—Private Sector Award 2020. These significant improvements are the result of members’ collective efforts and unity. They include: • A pay increase of 5.75%, including a lump sum back payment to 1 July. • The introduction of a new classification structure with higher classification levels, improved transparency through level and role mapping, and upward

• •

reclassification for select roles Strengthened support and leave arrangements for transgender employees, indigenous staff, individuals experiencing family and domestic violence, parents, and carers. Study leave is now available for all NEA-covered workers, including those in Retail and AppleCare. Better overtime and late-night allowances. Retail employees now have Time Away Days, while AppleCare employees can enjoy Public Holiday TOIL. AppleCare now offers part-time positions, and Retail has improved part-time rostering. Full-time Retail employees have more flexible rostering options, including additional consecutive days off, including weekends.

Apple has also submitted an undertaking, which was accepted by

the FWC and will become part of the Enterprise Agreement. This includes: • Level 1 and Level 2 Casual AppleCare Team Members, Level 1 Casual Retail Customer Care Team Members and Level 1 Casual Facilities and Administration Team Members who work on a Sunday and; • Level 1 and Level 2 Part-time AppleCare Team Members and Level 1 Part-time Retail Customer Care Team Members who work less than three days a week, including a Sunday, will be paid for time worked on a Sunday, an amount per hour no less than the hourly rate payable for their relevant classification under the Clerks Award (as amended from time to time). Apple members have remained steadfast in their tireless efforts to secure these wins which has forged a brighter future for all Apple workers. BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE 37





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sexual harassment it’s everyone’s business By PENNY SPALDING


am yet to meet a woman who doesn’t have some story of sexual harassment or genderbased violence.

As a nation we can’t disassociate our highly segregated workforces, the gender pay gap and the embedded culture of misogyny and disrespect towards women in the form of gendered violence, including sexual harassment. Our collective issue with gendered violence plays out in all facets of our lives, including at work. The follow up report from the Respect@Work (2020) is the Australian Human Rights Commission’s, Time for Respect which was published late last year. This is important data that outlines the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment across all industries and professions, how many people report their experiences and what employers do or don’t do with that information. The Time for Respect tells us: Sexual harassment continues to be an acceptably common feature of Australian workplaces; one in three workers have experiences sexual harassment in their workplace in the last 5 years. Of the 33% harassed, 41% are women and 26% are men. Reporting remains low, only 18% of incidents are reported. Only a third of Australian workers think their organisation is doing enough The people most likely to experience sexual harassment at work are also more likely to experience other forms of harassment, like racial abuse and discrimination. Under work health and safety frameworks, sexual harassment and other forms of harassment is a psycho-social hazard. This hazard can lead to physical and psychological injuries.

Women’s Officer Queensland Council of Unions

• • • • • • •

WORKERS MOST LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE SEXUAL HARASSMENT INCLUDE: Young workers (under 30) Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islander workers Workers who are part of LGBTIQA+ community Migrant workers Workers with a disability Culturally and linguistically diverse workers Casual workers or those in insecure employment

Across the union movement, we have long known that sexual harassment and gender-based harassment is an industrial issue, an equity issue, and a sex discrimination issue. Our reporting frameworks and legislation weren’t fit for purpose and relied on impacted individuals to make formal complaints. That doesn’t work when there are big power imbalances in workplaces and delays and inaction often caused more harm. We need a system that provides a collective approach and made sexual harassment everyone’s business, including the employer. Unions collectively have bargained and advocated to ensure the work health and safety legislation, discrimination legislation and industrial legislation is fit for purpose, and focuses from reporting pathways, to prevention, and from the individual, to the employer. The are a raft of significant legislative changes federally, and in the state in response to Respect@Work. Harassment and discrimination are now preventable work health and safety hazards, and the employer

must put into practice systems and processes that work towards the prevention of harassment occurring in the first place (!). Risk management requires the identification of hazards, assessment of risks, control of the risks and then reviewing the control measures. All of this must occur in consultation with workers. Now we have the legislative framework, we must ensure it is applied, and applied correctly. Union Reps and Health and Safety Reps (HSRs) play an important role in ensuring that these changes are implemented and sexual harassment and gender-based harassment becomes less of a hazard at work. As a very first step, it is important that ALL workplaces update their training, policies, information and support for their employees that reflects these new positive duty obligations. Not sure where to start? Your union can help! 1. Time for respect: Fifth national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces | Australian Human Rights Commission



ending gender based discrimination at work


By REBECCA GIRARD Industrial Coordinator

SU members believe that everyone has the right to a safe and welcoming workplace free of gender-based discrimination. After years of campaigning, we have won new laws that mean all employers must take action to stop discrimination. Your employer must keep you safe from: • discrimination at work on the basis of sex • gender identity • sexual orientation • intersex status • relationship status • pregnancy • breast feeding, or • family responsibilities. New laws mean all employers now have a positive duty to take ‘reasonable and proportionate’ measures to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment and sexbased harassment, hostile workplace environments, and victimisation at work. This means your employer needs to make plans to prevent discrimination and then implement them. It is no longer acceptable for employers to deal with discrimination after it becomes an issue. Who is protected? Everyone is protected by these laws, including labour hire, apprentices, trainees, casuals, contractors, and temporary employees. This also includes potential employees looking for work with your employer. Your employer is also responsible for the behaviour of people who interact with the business. This includes customers, patrons, clients, participants, service users, patients, residents, visitors, suppliers, contractors, parents/guardians, students, and volunteers. Ending hostile workplace environments A Hostile Workplace Environment is offensive, intimidating or humiliating to a person because of their sex (or characteristics that are generally associated with or ascribed

to their sex). This covers anything which creates a sexually charged or hostile workplace but isn’t necessarily directed towards a specific person. You can now take action to stop discrimination at your workplace even if you haven’t been personally offended, intimidated or humiliated. Better protections for workers From 13 December 2023, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) will have powers to ensure employers comply with their obligations under the Sex Discrimination Act by issuing compliance notices and requiring enforceable undertakings. The AHRC won’t need to wait for an individual to make a complaint before acting. It will now have the power to make enquiries, issue compliance notices and take employers to court if they fail in their duties. We can take action in the Fair Work Commission to stop sexual harassment Unions have won new laws and stronger rights to prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers will need to take active steps to make sure sexual discrimination doesn’t happen in the first place. That means ensuring workers are safe from sexual harassment - not only from when they step foot into their workplace, but on their way to and from work, and in all communications regarding work. The Fair Work Commission now has greater powers to deal with workplace sexual harassment, including allowing a worker who has been harassed at work by one or more individuals to apply for an order to stop this behaviour.

If you need support or information about how to stop discrimination at work contact us: Phone: (07) 3844 5300 E-mail: au Website: If you are experiencing sexual violence you can contact:1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE


How social media outside the workplace can impact your employment by Hall Payne Lawyers


ith the increasing popularity of social media in the past decade, employers across Australia have implemented a range of measures to ensure that they are protected from the harm that social media can invite. Employers are increasingly incorporating social media restrictions into employment contracts along with comprehensive social media policies that extend to conduct outside the workplace. Social media, whether used within the workplace or for communication with colleagues outside of working hours, can serve as a platform for problematic behaviour. Instances of bullying, vilification, discrimination, and harassment frequently manifest on social media platforms. Employees should be aware that their rights and responsibilities in respect of social media use may extend beyond the workplace. The illusion of privacy Employees should bear in mind that their ‘private’ social media activity is not always private. Even if a social media post, comment or tweet is private or only shared amongst close friends and family, that post can be screenshot, shared or reposted to a limitless audience. An initial audience of a couple of friends can quickly become an audience of thousands, with devastating effects. There are countless examples where employees have shared personal messages between colleagues, that have made their way back to an employer. In the case of Colwell v Sydney International Container Terminals Pty Limited [2018] FWC 174, a stevedore was dismissed due to his transmission of a sexually explicit video through Facebook Messenger to a private group that included male and female colleagues, despite no formal complaint to the employer.

Mr Colwell disputed his employer’s decision in the Fair Work Commission (“FWC”), arguing that: • any conflicts or issues arising from social media interactions amongst friends should be resolved among themselves, without the interference of an employer; and • the conduct lacked a significant connection to his employment since it: 1. occurred outside of work hours; 2. did not involve any workplacerelated resources; and 3. involved only the applicant and other employees who had volunteered to connect via Facebook. 4. The FWC determined that there existed a necessary connection between the employee’s behaviour and his employment, thereby justifying the dismissal. The FWC found that Mr Colwell had formed Facebook connections with his colleagues primarily due to their work relationship and concluded that the content shared privately among them was a breach of the employer’s policies of expected conduct. Ensure you know and understand your employer’s social media policy Workplace policies can vary significantly between employers and it is important that employees thoroughly review and comprehend all policies within their workplace, including those concerning the use of social media. Often, workplace policies concerning the use of social media will expressly include social media activities outside of the workplace and include the use of social media platforms when communicating between colleagues beyond ordinary working hours. In Corry v Australian Council of Trade Unions [2022] FWC 288, an employee found himself in a contentious situation after sharing provocative and discriminatory content on his personal Facebook account in support of anticoronavirus protests. He did so outside of work hours and without using his

employer’s property. His employer, deeming these posts a serious violation of their social media policy, summarily dismissed the worker, terminating his employment immediately. The employee challenged the dismissal but the FWC upheld the summary dismissal, concluding that the employee’s actions constituted a breach of the social media policy and contrary to his employer’s public position. The FWC found that the out of hours conduct was likely to cause damage to the employment relationship and was incompatible with the employee’s duty owed to his employer. As social media continues to play a significant role in our professional and personal lives, employees and employers alike must navigate the complexities of online conduct. Employers have taken proactive steps to safeguard their interests through policies and actions that address social media behaviour both inside and outside the workplace. While not every instance of negative social media behaviour will result in dismissal, the potential impact on an employee’s tenure underscores the importance of responsible online engagement. It is essential for employees to recognise the evolving boundaries between personal and professional realms. The cases of Colwell and Corry exemplify that such boundaries can extend beyond the workplace, emphasizing the need for discretion in online interactions, even when outside of work hours. How To Get Help If you’re facing disciplinary action, including dismissal, due to inappropriate social media use in breach of company policies, you should seek advice at Services Connect on 3844 5300. Timely advice is crucial as there are strict time limits to lodge an unfair dismissal claim if your employment has been terminated. BY YOUR SIDE MAGAZINE 43

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Articles inside

ending gender based discrimination at work

pages 41-43

sexual harassment it’s businesseveryone’s

pages 39-40

crunch time ends with sweeter conditions at Apple

pages 37-38

steering the ports industry to new horizons

pages 35-36

taking off in the airlines industry

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page 32

steady and strategic in the energy industry

page 30

disability commissionroyalsecure jobs equal quality services

pages 28-29

campaigning for equitable locality allowances

pages 26-27

strengthening local government for a sustainable future

pages 24-25

active delegates get results

pages 22-23

our rising star, angus

page 21

terese takes the spotlight as our delegate of the year

page 20

solidarity in timor leste

pages 18-19

josh, leading the future of our union

page 17

by sideyourwith pride

pages 14-16

celebrating carly

pages 12-13

union women to the front

pages 10-11

lobbying to ensure members’ expertise is recognised

pages 8-9

advancement and stability through positive collaboration

page 5
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