REAL CHANGE BE PART OF A REAL CHANGE
MAGAZINE – SPRING 2012
THIS ISSUE: DELEGATES CONFERENCE: OBJECTIVES:
Our Focus For Real Change
Reaffirming Our Objectives
What Not To Watch At Work
MAGAZINE OF THE 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. AUTHORISED BY KATHRINE NELSON, SECRETARY, AUSTRALIAN MUNICIPAL, ADMINISTRATIVE, CLERICAL AND SERVICES UNION QUEENSLAND (SERVICES AND NORTHERN ADMINISTRATIVE) BRANCH AND THE QUEENSLAND SERVICES, INDUSTRIAL UNION OF EMPLOYEES.
REAL CHANGE REAL CHANGE MAGAZINE www.theservicesunion.com.au 32 Peel Street (PO Box 3347) South Brisbane Q 4101 PRESIDENT: Bob Ball BRANCH SECRETARY: Kathrine Nelson ASSISTANT SECRETARY: Jennifer Thomas Published by the Australian Services Union, Queensland (Services and Northern Administrative) Branch EDITOR: Kathrine Nelson PRINTED BY: Harding Colour Printing T: 07 3907 6500
SERVICES CONNECT T: 07 3844 5300 F: 07 3846 5046 E: firstname.lastname@example.org SERVICES UNION CONNECT SENIOR INDUSTRIAL OFFICER: Michelle Robertson INDUSTRIAL OFFICERS: Denis Ball, Gerard O’Gorman, David Malcolm MEDIA/COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER: Belinda Hogan-Collis INDUSTRIAL INDUSTRIAL SERVICES COORDINATOR: Neil Henderson SENIOR INDUSTRIAL OFFICERS: James Mattner, Rebecca Girard, Tneka Springett, Richard Tarnawski
ORGANISING LEAD NEGOTIATOR: Justine Moran REGIONAL COORDINATOR CENTRAL AND SOUTH: David Perry SACS COORDINATOR: Catherine Laherty LEAD ORGANISER GOC: Danny Reeves ORGANISERS: Tim Frost, Anna Herzog, Stuart Maggs, Holly Patterson, Kirk Rostock, Brendan Sheehen, Zach Walsh, Lucas Bird NORTH QUEENSLAND – TOWNSVILLE ORGANISERS: Chiara Lennox, Julianne Mann, Steve Rodgers 485 Flinders St (PO Box 1048) Townsville Q 4810 F: 07 4721 1582 CENTRAL QUEENSLAND – ROCKHAMPTON ORGANISER: Janet Kelly 110–114 Campbell St (PO Box 5160) Red Hill, Rockhampton Q 4701 F: 07 4922 3919 SOUTH WEST QUEENSLAND – TOOWOOMBA ORGANISER: Peter Ryan Level 2 Trades Hall, 19A Russell St (PO Box 1619) Toowoomba Q 4350 F: 07 4638 9133
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IN THIS ISSUE ... 03 WELCOME BRANCH SECRETARIES’ REPORT REAL CHANGE: Focus, Audacity and Authenticity by Kath Nelson and Jennifer Thomas. 04 INDUSTRY NEWS • Allconnex • Seqwater • Gladstone Ports Corporation Limited • Cairns and Mackay Airports • QR National • QR • Energy Sur vey • Energy Restructures • Linfox Armaguard • QCCU • SACS Update
06 CHANGE MAKERS • TYSON JOHNSTON • SARAH GLEESON • ADAM THOMPSON 07 OUR BRANCH OBJECTIVES On the path to achieving REAL CHANGE. 08 BE PART OF A REAL CHANGE DELEGATES’ CONFERENCE 2012 Staying focused on our Objectives for the next 12 months - Visibility, Representation, Delegates and Youth. 10 OUR UNION IN ACTION • Rally For Job
Security Anna Stewart Memorial Project Queensland Tenant Ser vices.
11 SPECIAL REPORT THE QUEENSLAND BUDGET What the Budget means: For Queensland workers and our members. 12 FEATURE WHAT NOT TO WATCH AT WORK Make sure to exercise caution when you surf the net at work. 14 OUR PARTNERS OFFERS
Justice For Graham The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) ruled in July that former Toowoomba Regional Council worker Graham Wotton was unfairly dismissed from his job at Council on Friday, 20 January 2012. Graham had been an employee at Council for over 16 years, with an unblemished record and was sacked over the phone by his former employer at 5:15pm. After Graham’s unfair dismissal, The Services Union nationally launched the Justice for Graham Campaign. This national campaign saw many unions and their members come together to support getting justice for Graham, a highly regarded member of the Toowoomba community and workplace delegate of The Services Union. Graham has been successful in obtaining a new position at Western Downs Regional Council, which he is enjoying immensely. Graham would like to thank all members of The Services Union for their unbelievable support during what has been a very trying time for him and his family.
DO IT DIRECT AND WIN Members: Join us and DO IT DIRECT. If you are a member currently paying your union fees via payroll deduction why not make the switch to direct debit and save 10% per year. You can also go into the draw to win an iPAD2. More information can be found on our website at www.theservicesunion.com.au
WELCOME QLD WAGE INCREASES
BRANCH SECRETARIES’ REPORT
REAL CHANGE - FOCUS, AUDACITY AND AUTHENTICITY BY KATH NELSON & JENNIFER THOMAS OUR UNION’S STRENGTH OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS WILL COME FROM OUR ABILITY TO STAY FOCUSED ON OUR OBJECTIVES AND BY EXECUTING THEM WITH COURAGE AND BOLDNESS. In September 2011, members of our Union who are elected to our Executive and Council met to discuss the priorities of our Union for the then coming 12 months. Over the course of this very action packed day, our Union’s representatives carved out the vision for our future as a collective. Four key areas for action were identified: Visibility, Representation, Delegates and Youth. These were endorsed as our Objectives for the next 12 months. At the BE PART OF A REAL CHANGE DELEGATES’ CONFERENCE 2012 held on 5 and 6 September, our Union reviewed and discussed our progress towards these objectives.
maintain our commitment to pushing forward our plans. But we cannot work from an inward point of view. Our Union is the strongest when we situate our actions within the workplace and within the community. Our SACS Pay Equity Campaign is a great example of this.
We also planned our campaign for REAL CHANGE over the next 12 months by reaffirming our commitment to these objectives. You can read more about our future plan and the events of our Conference in this edition of REAL CHANGE Magazine.
The major key to our Union’s success and strength comes from the translation and projection of every member’s voice. How our Union incorporates your voice into the work that we all do every day, is what makes our Union authentic. The more authentic we are, the closer what we do is aligned to members in our industries and workplaces.
Our strength as a Union comes from our ability to be focused, audacious and authentic. To be the very best Union that we can be, we must continue to be focused in: representing individual members; campaigning for industry standards; developing and leading industry strategy; and continuing to bargain for better wages and conditions for our members. We must concentrate on these strengths and
This is where audacity comes into it. To be audacious means to have extraordinary courage and boldness. This means having a go, taking some risks and trying new ideas. Although this poses challenges and there is the risk of mistakes, together we can learn.
We are committed to making sure our members always have a voice. We encourage you to come with us on this journey to make REAL CHANGE in our workplaces, industries, community and society. Members can now read our Annual Operating Report on our website at www.theservicesunion.com.au
The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) has awarded an increase in wage rates of 2.9 per cent or $20.50 per week (whichever is the greater). This decision will result in the wages and allowances prescribed by the Queensland Local Government Officers Award and the Municipal Officers Aboriginal and Islander Community Councils Award being increased from 1 September 2012. The increase awarded by the QIRC was the same as the increase awarded by Fair Work Australia (FWA) earlier this year. Members of The Services Union who are paid the Award or whose Agreement sets pay rates based on the Award rates should let us know if their employer does not pass on the increase from 1 September as required by the decision.
WHITSUNDAY REGIONAL COUNCIL Members at Whitsunday Regional Council have recently been experiencing the restructuring of their workplace. Our Union is very concerned about the way Council is going about this restructure, with many management positions made redundant. Council has indicated that there will be relocations between Bowen and Proserpine and claim that it would be facilitating swaps of jobs for those who do not wish to relocate. However, our Union is presently pressing for further confirmation of this. We have also been assured that full consultation will be maintained and we will be advocating for members’ job security.
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INDUSTRY NEWS ALLCONNEX WATER DISESTABLISHMENT The very messy and political disestablishment of Allconnex Water was finalised on 1 July 2012, with Allconnex employees transitioning their employment back to Gold Coast, Logan and Redland City Councils. The disestablishment of Allconex Water was made even harder for the affected employees, following the decision by the new State Government to pass legislation to repeal the Water Workforce Retransfer Framework 2012, without any consultation with key stakeholders. That decision effectively abolished overnight all of the employment protections negotiated by unions, the Councils and Allconnex Water which were legislated by the previous Labor Government which were designed to protect employees who were caught up in further South East Queensland (SEQ) Water Reform. With Liberal National Party’s (LNPs) removal of the Water Framework protections, Allconnex employees transitioned back to the Councils under the terms of the Council Enterprise Agreements (EAs). The removal of the framework protections has seen many employees left without job security and their current employment conditions and pay rates at risk. Our Union has been working with the Councils to protect employee’s terms and conditions of employment and job security. Our strategy has been to link the relevant employment protections from the Framework to our enterprise bargaining claims wherever possible. Unfortunately, we have already seen in excess of 40 voluntary redundancies being implemented by Gold Coast City Council as a result of the removal of the employment protection legislations.
SEQWATER The State Government recently decided to merge Seqwater and LinkWater into a new statutory authority. The Services Union will be involved in negotiating the new Certified Agreement once the new entity is established. The new Agreement will replace the existing Seqwater Certified Agreement 2009. In the interim, the State Government has advised that they will pay a 2.2 per cent wage increase effective from 1 July 2012. If the Core Agreement, which is currently being arbitrated in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) receives a larger increase, this will increase will flow on to workers at Seqwater instead. 04 REAL CHANGE | SPRING 2012 | www.theser vicesunion.com.au
GLADSTONE PORT Members at Gladstone Ports Corporation Limited have now tabled a Log of Claims based on our Union survey, idea generation forums and outcomes from specific work groups and individual feedback from our members. Discussions to date have been around wages, medical, and health and well being provisions. Members are meeting on an on-going basis to discuss their claims further. CAIRNS AIRPORT The new Enterprise Agreement (EA) for members at Cairns Airport has just been approved by Fair Work Australia (FWA), becoming effective on 31 August 2012. Members will receive a 3.5 per cent pay increase annually, with the first increase backdated to 1 July 2012. They also receive a $500 payment for the Agreement being approved. Existing employees were able to maintain most of their existing conditions, including; no forced redundancies rostered days off (RDOs), and an extra weeks annual leave. MACKAY AIRPORT Members at Mackay Airport had their new Enterprise Agreement (EA) certified on 24 August 2012. Members have received a 3.5 per cent wage increase, effective from 31 August 2012, plus a one-off payment of $500. There was also an introduction of new allowances that will benefit a number of members. Important provisions such as protection from forced redundancy have also been maintained despite efforts from management to remove these from the Agreement during negotiations.
BCC MEMBERS SURVEY Members at Brisbane City Council (BCC) have been extremely enthusiastic in expressing what they want to see in their next Enterprise Agreement (EA8) with a high survey return. Members have been very clear that they want to retain their current provisions around employment security and work/life balance flexibility. Members recognise that these conditions help maintain a stable workforce whilst making Council an attractive place to work for prospective employees. In turn, a stable and skilled workforce assists Council to meet the objectives laid out in Council’s ‘Shared Visions, Living in Brisbane 2026’. In addition to maintaining current member conditions, the survey results identified that members are looking for a fair wage outcome and negotiated guidelines for Council’s Christmas shutdown if it is to be an on-going initiative. When reflecting on the survey results members claims are reasonable and fair. However in the current climate, members expect holding on to what they have will not be easy. Our Union is now in the process of setting up Bargaining Teams to assist with the upcoming negotiations and will be taking steps to promote our Union’s profile. This will be done by building collective strength throughout the workplace to secure conditions and a fair wage increase.
MEMBER RESOLVE AT GCCC Members at Gold Coast City Council showed their resolve and strength when they returned an overwhelming ‘No’ vote to the proposed Enterprise Bargaining Agreement put out to ballot by Council management. More than two-thirds of Council’s workforce voted to reject the proposed Agreement which offered a wage increase; which was the lowest offered by any Queensland council in this round of Enterprise Bargaining. Members were also displeased with Council’s decision to walk away from the negotiating table without reaching an agreement. The Combined Unions wrote to Council management and requested that negotiations continue. Members have not ruled out taking protected industrial action if their claim of 10.5 per cent over three years is not met.
DELEGATES TRAINING 1. SACS - 24 and 25 October 2012 - Brisbane 2. GOCs - 7 and 8 November 2012 - Brisbane 3. All Industries - 13 and 14 November 2012 Townsville Please register your interest in training to Karen Davis at karen.davis@theser vicesunion.com.au
INDUSTRY NEWS QR NATIONAL - RESTRUCTURE: OUR UNION TO ASSIST MEMBERS Queensland Rail National (QR National) has just gone through a major restructure, with 630 voluntary redundancies now being processed. In addition to the employees taking voluntary redundancies, there have been a number of employees redeployed and relocated in the process as well. By taking action via Fair Work Australia (FWA) our Union has ensured that those employees who are now considered ‘surplus’ or Employees in Transition (EIT) retain working conditions contained in their Enterprise Agreement (EA). This includes the right to continue to receive all allowances and payments specified in their EA, unless the EA specifically excludes such payments. Our Union is still pressing QR National management for further details on exactly how many staff were redeployed or relocated in this process. It is important that we get this information so that we can ascertain what effect this restructure will have on the workers that remain.
QUEENSLAND RAIL - JOBS UPDATE The job losses at Queensland Rail (QR) are a direct result of the $200 million funding cut from the city train and travel train contracts, handed down in the recent Queensland Government Budget. Firstly, there will be a restructure of senior levels of management which will see approximately 45 senior managers either finish at QR or face redeployment. Secondly, there will be a Voluntary Redundancy scheme (VR) aimed at letting go around 500 workers however, not all workers may be eligible for a VR. QR have started the consultation process. It should not be forgotten that members’ efforts last year to maintain the No Forced Redundancy Provisions in their Enterprise Agreements (EAs) were worthwhile. No worker covered by an EA can be forced out of employment.
ENERGY AND RAIL INDUSTRY SURVEY
DUE TO THE CHANGING WORKING LANDSCAPE OF THE ENERGY AND RAIL INDUSTRIES OUR UNION WILL BE ROLLING OUT AN ONLINE MEMBER SURVEY IN OCTOBER 2012. MEMBERS WORKING IN THE ENERGY AND RAIL INDUSTRIES ARE ENCOURAGED TO GIVE THEIR VIEW, SO TOGETHER WE CAN SHAPE OUR UNION’S FUTURE CAMPAIGNS AND DIRECTION. MEMBERS WILL RECEIVE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE SURVEY SHORTLY.
ENERGEX UPDATE Our Union has been meeting Energex management to discuss the major cost cutting changes at Energex. The State Government is forcing the business to cut costs, particularly labour costs. During the month of August, Energex commenced consultation with industry unions on a range of different issues affecting members and employees across the Government Owned Corporation (GOC). These include a review of core business functions, a review of procurement functions, and a view to outsourcing certain functions within the business such as ICT functions, fleet and warehouse. These proposals are based on a benchmarking exercise with other GOCs and energy distributors across the country. Our Union has a firm view on high quality services delivering world class results for our economy and our society and encourages Energex to further explore and implement initiatives which will save the GOC money whilst reducing the need to minimise the size of the workforce. These changes will have a direct impact on jobs and services. Energex have also indicated that they wish to commence a voluntary redundancy process as a way of implementing their labour cost cutting agenda. Our Union is continuing consultation with Energex management over these changes and will be advocating for our members’ best interests.
SACS UPDATE Social and Community Service (SACS) Industry members have been attending workshops across Australia that outline the Equal Pay Wage Increases which start to come into effect on 1 December 2012. All members of The Services Union working in the SACS Industry are encouraged to check your pay on 1 December each year until 2020. On ‘Check Your Equal Pay Day’ there will be a pay increase for all SACS workers on the Modern Award rates. No worker in the SACS Industry across Australia should be getting paid less than the Equal Pay rates, which is why it’s important to check your Equal Pay. After a long and hard fought campaign, members are now looking forward to receiving an extremely well deserved wage increase. As members in the SACS Industry are now aware, the State Government have reneged on a promise to not cut frontline services. Numerous frontline services such as the Sisters Inside Program at Townsville Correctional Centre, the Tenants Union of Queensland, Queensland Working Women’s Service and Healthy Communities have had all or some of their funding cut. Our Union will continue to fight for the value of the work we do in the Social and Community Services Industry.
Enterprise Bargaining (EB) negotiations for a new Country Agreement at Linfox Armaguard began in early July. Members ‘claims include a 5 per cent pay increase for each year of the new Agreement; a disaster leave clause of five days that is separate from other leave provisions; penalty rates if this leave has to be extended in times of natural catastrophes; and back pay to staff to the expiry of the last Agreement, 22 June 2012. At this stage management are taking their time in agreeing to any of our Union’s claims, which has included a pay increase offer well below what is acceptable. Claims by management include requiring members to work split shifts, 12 hour working days, no overtime and the introduction of a new classification structure which removes current increments. Our Union is not about to accept management’s claims that impinge on members’ working rights and conditions and will continue to negotiate positive outcomes.
QCCU - WAGES On 1 July 2012, members at Queensland Country Credit Union (QCCU) received a fixed base rate wage of 2.5 per cent. As part of the last QCCU Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA), a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) meeting was conducted in early July. Based on the results for the previous year a KPI bonus has now been paid to staff. At the meeting with management the Return of Assets (ROA) was discussed and a further wage increase will be applied on 1 October 2012.
BE PART OF A REAL CHANGE | SPRING 2012 | REAL CHANGE 05
AS A YOUNG PERSON WORKING IN THE RAIL INDUSTRY, TYSON BELIEVES THAT WORKPLACE DELEGATES DO MAKE REAL CHANGE IN OUR WORKPLACES.
PASSIONATE ABOUT JUSTICE, SARAH SAYS COLLABORATION IS THE KEY TO REAL CHANGE IN OUR WORKPLACES AND INDUSTRIES.
ADAM BELIEVES THAT WE CAN ALL MAKE A DIFFERENCE AS INDIVIDUALS BUT REAL CHANGE COMES VIA COLLECTIVE STRENGTH.
“I work for Queensland Rail as a Customer Service Attendant part-time and I am a full-time student. I’m a Workplace Delegate. As a Generation Y male, I pretty much conform to the stereotype which means I’m online 24/7. I’ve always been a strong advocate for human rights. I used to work at a large city train station, and often observed how staff morale would change with management’s decision-making. It made me realise how important unions were as an avenue for workers to voice their concerns, and achieve harmonious working conditions. One day I was asked if I’d be interested in becoming a Workplace Delegate. From then, I became more involved in workplace industrial relations and I started to develop a passion for the field. As a young worker I have experienced first-hand what it’s like to have my workplace rights disregarded. I decided that I didn’t want my colleagues to be in this position. I thought that becoming more involved was the best way to prevent this from happening to others. I am able to provide members with the resources and answers they need should they feel they are being treated unfairly in the workplace. I believe in REAL CHANGE and that Workplace Delegates can empower the workplace and create equal power in the employment relationship.”
“I work at FSG Australia as a Coordinator. I support young carers; young people who care for a family member or friend with an illness or disability. My job involves some office work, chatting to young people and their families on the phone and running social activities for young people. It’s a great mix of direct contact and down time at the office. I was volunteered as a Workplace Delegate by fellow workmates, although I was very reluctant about taking on the role initially. After that I supported a staff member at a disciplinary meeting. She loved her job and hadn’t done anything wrong but was really intimidated by the process and understandably so. I’ve always had a strong sense of justice and attending that meeting made me realise that it wasn’t just young people or those typically seen as ‘vulnerable’ that needed support. A REAL CHANGE maker is someone who sees an issue that needs to be addressed and works with others to create change. It’s impossible to be a change maker by yourself – you need the input of others affected by the issue, because everyone’s experience is different. Everyone has different skills they contribute and when you combine these and add in a desire to see change you can do amazing things. REAL CHANGE is something that we can achieve when we work towards a common goal.”
“I work in Cairns for Jetstar as a Customer Service Officer at the airport and I have worked there for five years. I joined our Union four years ago at the time we had the airport torn down and rebuilt around us. I noticed in our Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) that the company should have been paying us an allowance for working in a construction zone, so after management told us that we were not entitled to the allowance, I spoke to our Union about my concerns and I signed up on the spot. Shortly after I joined, I attended a national Airlines delegate meeting where we began working on our upcoming EBA and I found myself on the National Negotiating Team. Let’s just say that I’m hooked! Making working conditions better is not just about the here and now. We work really hard to improve conditions for the future workforce as well. We have a duty to the next generations to continue this work. Unfortunately, until such time as the human race stops placing such importance on money, corporations will be content to accept that in the chase for the dollar that their workforce will be collateral damage along the way. Only when we stand together do we stand a real chance to fight this, because an an individual, I can influence those around me, but together we can change the world.”
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OUR UNION’S FUTURE - FOCUS ON ACHIEVING REAL CHANGE THE SERVICES UNION HELD ITS BE PART OF A REAL CHANGE DELEGATES’ CONFERENCE 2012 ON THE 5 AND 6 SEPTEMBER. UNITED UNDER THE THEME, REAL CHANGE: FOCUS, AUDACITY AND AUTHENTICITY, COUNCIL MEMBERS AND WORKPLACE DELEGATES REFLECTED ON OUR UNION’S ACHIEVEMENTS OVER THE LAST 12 MONTHS. THEY ALSO REAFFIRMED COMMITMENT TO FOUR KEY AREAS; VISIBILITY, REPRESENTATION, YOUTH AND ACTIVIST/DELEGATE EDUCATION. THE FOLLOWING RECOMMENDATIONS HAVE BEEN ENDORSED BY COUNCIL.
Excellence in representation is at the heart of our commitment to our members. We support the following initiatives that add to our other efforts towards delivering this excellence in representation in the next 12 months by: 1.
over the next 12 months including by: 1.
This Branch Conference recognises the initiatives that our Union has implemented in order to increase our Union’s visibility in workplaces, industries and the community. The Conference wishes to continue to build this positive profile of our Union and supports the following action in the next 12 months: The continued roll-out of our brand and vision of The Services Union to our members, potential members and the community; The ongoing upgrade of our Union website and the use of this site and other social marketing to increase our Union’s reach to our members and potential members. Also ensuring that our members can easily access union information resources and participate in campaigns to protect their employment rights;
The allocation of union resources to support a strategy designed to increase our Union’s visibility in our community through our industry divisions; and The adoption of whole of union campaigns promoting our Union’s values, connecting with the individual and collective benefits of solidarity, targeting potential members.
Surveying members regarding their representation needs; Increasing our Union’s research capacity to support its industry campaigns and its capacity to develop proactive industry strategies; Building our capacity to withstand government initiatives within our industries that undermine our member’s workplace rights; Using campaign techniques as part of securing individual member’s workplace rights; and Communicating and educating about our successes.
ACTIVISTS & DELEGATES Our activists and our delegates are key to our ongoing success. We must continue to invest in the identification and development of a growing number of activists and delegates who are prepared and supported to carry out their work. We support the following action in the next 12 months to build the momentum here by: 1.
YOUTH We are committed to recruiting and developing the next generation of our members. We will continue our efforts to ensure that our Union is real and relevant to younger workers and therefore support the roll-out of the next phase of the Youth Strategy
Implementing campaigns based on the results of the Youth Survey in test sites Energex and BCC; Extending the initiatives to other test sites in different industries including in regional locations; Increasing and extending our use of social media; and Ensuring that our actions are informed by what we are learning by continuing our evaluation of the strategy.
Developing and delivering an extensive activist development program taking on board the learnings from the 2012 Activist Development initiative; Making the identification and development of delegates and the establishment of Organising Committees and networks in targeted workplaces (also using thematic or geographical locations) a priority; and Allocating resources to train and develop Delegates and Organisers as mentors for activists and delegates.
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BE PART OF A REAL CHANGE - DELEGATES’ CONFERENCE
BE PART OF A REAL CHANGE DELEGATES’ CONFERENCE 2012 OUR FOCUS FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS OUR UNION’S CONFERENCE IS A TIME TO COME TOGETHER TO CONSIDER ACHIEVEMENTS FROM THE PAST 12 MONTHS AND PLAN THE NEXT PHASE OF OUR JOURNEY. WITH THE THEMES OF FOCUS, AUDACITY AND AUTHENTICITY, OUR MEMBERS REAFFIRMED OUR OBJECTIVES.
REAL CHANGE does not occur without having a real plan for the future. At our BE PART OF A REAL CHANGE - DELEGATES’ CONFERENCE 2012, our Industry Division Committee Vice Presidents (VPs) presented to members and delegates how our Union acted on the Objectives (Visibility, Representation, Delegates and Youth) set by Council last year. The presentations highlighted how
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we achieved our Objectives. Some of the highlights included: our Union’s rebrand; the Justice For Graham Campaign; Equal Pay for SACS workers; wins in Enterprise Bargaining Campaigns in our Industries; our new Activist Development Program; and our Youth Survey. Members then got to work to consider how
BE PART OF A REAL CHANGE - DELEGATES’ CONFERENCE
best to take our Union forward in the next 12 months. After much discussion, members recommended that our Union further reaffirm our commitment to the Objectives set in 2011. The Conference recognised the initiatives that have been implemented in order to increase the Visibility of our Union and members discussed in groups their vision for the next year. It was recommended, amongst other things, to adopt a broad based campaign promoting our Union’s values targeting potential members.
Finally, it was recognised that our Workplace Delegates are the key to our success. Therefore, it was endorsed that we continue to invest in the development of Workplace Activists and Workplace Delegates in the work they do for our collective in their workplaces. The Recommendations can be read in full on page seven of REAL CHANGE Magazine. These recommendations have now been endorsed by our Union’s Councillors and work has commenced on developing work plans to bring our Objectives to life to be considered by our Branch Executive in November.
It was also recommended that we add to our efforts in delivering excellence in Representation to our industries and members. Delegates also advocated the continuing roll-out of our Youth Strategy.
Over the two days, our Union played host to a number of guest speakers including the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation Bill Shorten, who discussed the need for us all to
share the stories about how our Union has created REAL CHANGE in our workplaces and communities. Writer Benjamin Law spoke to members about how best to engage the younger generations in our campaigns, especially through social media. Benjamin gave an open, honest and witty talk about what really makes his generation tick. Deputy National Director of GetUp.org.au Sam McLean, talked about how his independent community organisation gives Australians the opportunity to get involved in issues that affect them. Sam explained what tools our Union can use to create campaigns that are visible and inspiring. Finally, Campaigns Director for Amnesty International Australia Andrew Beswick, discussed how his organisation represents those who need support in having their voice heard and how we can further represent our members both individually and collectively.
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OUR UNION IN ACTION QLD TENANT SERVICES
ABOVE: ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE SERVICES UNION JENNIFER THOMAS ADDRESSES THE MASSIVE CROWD OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT HOUSE IN BRISBANE WHO RALLIED FOR JOB SECURITY.
RALLY FOR JOB SECURITY Members showed their support during the first round of rallies for job security in August, supporting workers in the public sector, Government Owned Corporations (GOCs) water and community services.
speech; “We are rallying to ensure that vital public and community services reach everyone that needs them. We will continue to work to make our industries better by fighting for increases in government funding.”
The Services Union joined Together where our Union’s Assistant Secretary Jennifer Thomas addressed thousands of people outside Parliament House. Jennifer said in her
With more funding and jobs cuts on the State Government’s agenda, further rallies are planned for the future. Members are encouraged to participate.
The State Government recently announced funding cuts for the Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service (TAAS). Across Queensland, 23 tenant advice services, including the Tenants’ Union of Queensland, were given three months’ notice to close. We have many members who work for TAAS and our Union supports their campaign to save this valuable service that is funded by Queensland renters. In the first of many actions, TAAS supporters gathered outside Campbell Newman’s electorate office in Ashgrove on 28 August 2012 to show their disappointment about this decision. Supporters also presented postcards to the Premier calling on him to reinstate funding for this frontline community service. The Tenants’ Union of Queensland received additional funding cuts during the Budget announcements on September 11. Monies for their policy and reform work around tenancy law and social housing have been discontinued, again with three months’ notice. This means that no tenant advocate will be funded anywhere in Queensland despite the money used to fund them is largely from the interest generated on tenants’ bonds. Please visit the Save Tenant Services; www.savetenantservices.net.au to see how you too can get active in support.
ANNA STEWART MEMORIAL PROJECT Members Sian Tooker and Robyn Lawrence recently participated in the 2012 Anna Stewart Memorial Project. The Project has run since 1984 through most Trades and Labor Councils to increase women’s involvement in the union movement. Women from diverse workplaces and occupations get the chance to experience life at their union and with other unions. Participants also get the chance to go out to workplaces with organisers to see organising and negotiations first hand. Anna Stewart was a journalist and active Victorian official from 1974 to 1983 and she successfully spear-headed the first blue collar union campaign for maternity leave award provisions. She also amongst other things, initiated campaigns that recognised sexual harassment as an industrial issue. Robyn who works in the SACS Industry says one of the greatest things she learnt from her experience was that unions are more about people than projects. “Unions are the voice of the people and I now am inspired to participate in a more active role within my workplace and also within the union movement itself.” Sian who also works in the SACS Industry, says she learnt more about how unions operate. “I learned about the split between organising and industrial roles, decision making about workplace issues and how campaigns are developed,” she says. “Going through the Anna Stewart Memorial Project has also re-energised me in my role as a Workplace Delegate.” Robyn encourages fellow members to participate in The Project in the future. “This was an amazing experience and I hope it continues to give women the opportunity to gain a valuable understanding and insight into the union movement.” 10 REAL CHANGE | SPRING 2012 | www.theser vicesunion.com.au
ABOVE: OUR VP FOR SACS AND CO-ORDINATOR OF THE TENANTS’ UNION OF QUEENSLAND, PENNY CARR, ABOUT TO HAND IN HER POSTCARD AT CAMPBELL NEWMAN’S ELECTORATE OFFICE IN ASHGROVE.
BELOW: ROBYN LAWRENCE (LEFT) AND SIAN TOOKER (RIGHT) ENCOURAGES OTHER MEMBERS TO PARTICPATE IN THE ANNA STEWART MEMORIAL PROJECT.
THE QUEENSLAND BUDGET WHAT IT MEANS FOR US? The Newman Government looks set to learn some fairly basic lessons in economics. Cutting such large amounts of money from the economy will have a knock on effect through the economy. Economists call it the multiplier effect. When public sector employment is reduced, it means that business which is reliant on the flow of money into the economy in the form of the wages paid to the employees or the consumption of goods and services associated with their work, will also be impacted. So jobs lost directly as a result of cuts in the public service and through cuts to the funding of programmes in the social and community services sector are not the only jobs that will go.
the Royalties to the Regions Programme, but it is unclear whether there will be a net benefit to the Local Government Sector overall. The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) Chief Executive Greg Hallam said, that the Budget would “hurt Councils”. He also said that the Budget was a ‘mixed bag’ and that Local Government, “has shouldered more than its fair share of decreased funding from the State”.
Queensland is sitting towards the top of the unemployment stakes at the moment with South Australia at 5.8 per cent only eclipsed by Tasmania, the Premier’s home State. As the effects of these cuts wash through the economy, there is every chance that Queensland will join Tasmania on the winner’s podium that no one wants. On first inspection, the State Budget revealed some very bad news for members of the Services Union and all Queenslanders. Unfortunately, closer scrutiny has not resulted in any different view of the impact of the Budget. Members of The Services Union will be affected by a number of specific budget measures. $259.7 million has been cut from the delivery of services in the non-government sector over four years. This is offset by a modest three per cent increase in the funding of specialist disability services over the next 12 months. The nature of the services affected is not clear at this stage but are described as being ‘low priority’. The Tenants Advice and Advisory Service (TAAS) has been discontinued with a budget saving of $18.9 million over four years. Queensland Rail (QR) has been hit with a reduction in the City Train contract of $151.5 million over four years and a reduction in the Travel Train Contract of $47 million over four years. These cuts are to be paid for by a reduction in expenditure on consumables, a reduction of senior executive positions and reducing head office and non frontline staff. The Services Union is already attending discussions with QR management to discuss the impact of the Budget. For Local Government, a cut of over 33 per cent to the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme down to $40 million will impact as will a cut of $59 million over four years to the Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program. In Local Government, there has also been a confirmation of an allocation under
Social Media Leaders Our Union is seeking expressions of interest from members who would like to become our Social Media Leaders. This will involve helping us promote our Union’s message. We are looking for members across all our industries. If you have an interest in social media and some good ideas we would love to hear from you. Please contact Belinda Hogan-Collis at email@example.com for further information by 19 October 2012.
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12 REAL CHANGE |SPRING 2012 | www.theser vicesunion.com.au
WHAT NOT TO WATCH AT WORK BY NEIL HENDERSON COMPUTERS HAVE SAT ON JUST ABOUT EVERY DESK IN OUR WORKPLACES FOR UP TO TWENTY YEARS AND ACCESS TO THE INTERNET AND EMAIL HAS BEEN AROUND FOR THE SAME TIME. BY NOW, THERE SHOULD BE NO REAL SURPRISES TO WORKERS ABOUT WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE WHEN IT COMES TO THE USE OF THIS TECHNOLOGY IN THE WORKPLACE. HOWEVER NOTHING IS EVER THAT CLEAR! In one of the earliest decisions concerning accessing pornography in the workplace Commissioner Di Foggo of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) said, “I believe that viewing pornographic material through the Internet, constitutes sufficient reason for instant dismissal from the workplace”. The Commissioner went on to say that, “I consider that the use of pornographic material in the workplace to be totally and absolutely inappropriate and I can put it no more plainly than that.” Generally speaking, this has remained the view of arbitral tribunals faced with unfair dismissals involving internet and email based pornography. There are some important issues that a Tribunal will consider in arriving at a decision when someone has been dismissed because they have accessed pornography in the workplace. But what is unacceptable in the workplace? This is a moving proposition. Many workplaces, but not all, now have in place various information technology policies and anti-discrimination/diversity policies which deal not only with the issue of accessing inappropriate material through use of computers and the internet but also access to material through other media such as magazines and of course ‘pin ups’. Many require employees to sign documents which state that the employee has read and understood the policy. Often there is a pop-up box at the computer log in which clearly sets out for the user what the organisation’s policy is in relation to internet usage and the use of computers generally. A further dimension to matters involving
computer use is the timing of the use. It will not necessarily help an employee to prove that the material accessed was not offensive, if in doing so it becomes plain that the “inoffensive” material being accessed was when the employee was supposed to be engaged in productive effort. An employer will not need to prove that they had a clearly explained policy in place that stipulated the need for employees to do work during work time. Even then, there have been arguments about this issue in circumstances where employees have through some unspoken/unwritten rule been permitted to engage in non-work related computer/internet use during their breaks; however this is only where there is no “offensive” material involved. In cases involving storage of unacceptable material on a workplace based computer or via internet access, the security of access to the computer in question will be important. This may involve consideration of the type of password used and how secure the password is. It will also involve consideration of the potential and/or possibility that someone else may have covertly used the computer in question or may have been able to remotely access that computer and use it to access and store the material in question.
the operation. Usually, there is a group of people who are emailing each other “amusing” pictures and jokes and often those involved will say that they did not consider the offensive or pornographic nature of the image rather only its comedic value. More often than not, the images concerned can only be described as pornographic when the usual methods of categorising such material are considered. It is worth remembering that images which do not fit the accepted description of pornography may well still fall short of what is acceptable in the workplace either by reference to generally accepted norms or behaviour or the employer’s policies where there are any in existence. Exercising caution is the safest course. Material received by email which might offend either generally accepted norms or which will offend the employer’s policies should be immediately deleted. Care should be taken, as many workplaces have requirements that the sender should be contacted and told not to send such material. There may also be a requirement to report the event to management.
Transmission of material that is considered unacceptable by the employer by email is perhaps the most common type of matter resulting in disciplinar y action at present. These types of situations often lead to clusters of unfair dismissal applications being heard together by an Industrial Tribunal. There are reported cases involving some of Australia’s largest employers. In many instances the material in question is being circulated through email recipients involving a number of employers.
It almost goes without saying that such material should not be stored on the employer’s computer. This includes computers and smartphones supplied by the employer. Employees should generally avoid storing anything of a personal nature on the employer computers and using the employer’s email for anything other than work. Apart from anything else, this will ensure that the employer is not reading your personal correspondence. You better believe it! If it is on their computer they can and frequently do read it!
In a recent case involving a large national employer, the emails concerned only came to light when the material was sent out of the organisation, because it only filtered emails going external to the company, not emails coming in or circulating within
Taking this approach will ensure that the myriad of problems which could possibly arise because of the storage of non-work material or sending and/or receiving risqué emails on an employer computer will never arise.
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OUR PARTNERS At HESTA we’re committed to helping members reach their retirement goals. After all, we’ve had more than 20 years experience in the health and community services sector.
fund in Australia to introduce a sustainable investment option — Eco Pool — and assess fund managers on their after-tax investment returns. For more information visit hesta.com.au or free call 1800 813 327.
We deliver our financial education and advice services in easy-to-understand language, using real-life examples. Our role is to inform you about your options — so that you can build a better retirement savings balance, whether you’re 25 or 65. HESTA now has more than 730,000 members, 100,000 employers and more than $18 billion in assets. HESTA’s size means we can offer many benefits to HESTA members in The Services Union. These include: low fees, a fully portable account, easy administration, access to low-cost income protection and death insurance, limited financial advice (at no extra cost), super education sessions and transition to retirement options. HESTA members also have access to a range of great value products and services including health insurance, banking and financial planning. We are at the forefront of super innovation. HESTA was the first major super