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MATTERS FOR INFORMATION MELBOURNE 3-5 SEPTEMBER, 1996 D. 61/1996 SEPTEMBER 1996 ACTU COUNCIL DECISIONS 3-5 SEPTEMBER, 1996 TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE AUGUST 19 RALLY .............................................................................. 1 ADDRESS BY BOB ADAMSON - AMWU................................................ 2 INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS LEGISLATION ........................................ 2-3 PUBLIC SECTOR CUT BACKS .......................................................... 3-4 LIN .................................................................................................. 4-5 ACTU OFFICE ACCOMODATION ......................................................... 5 REGIONAL RECRUITMENT ............................................................. 5-6 EDUCATION AND THE LIVING WAGE ............................................. 6-7 CONTRACTING OUT ....................................................................... 7-9 TUTA ............................................................................................. 9-10 ORGANISING WORKS........................................................................ 10 PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION ................................................... 10-12 COMMENDATION - G. CAMPBELL ..................................................... 12 OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ............................................ 13 BRIAN FRASER MEMORIAL CAMPAIGN ........................................... 13 VOCATIONAL TRAINING ............................................................ 13-15 WORKERS COMPENSATION .............................................................. 16 ACTION RESOLUTION ................................................................ 16-20 Decisions of ACTU Council Meeting Melbourne 3-5 September, 1996 MATTERS FOR INFORMATION Note: This publication provides information relating to decisions of the September 1996 Council meeting. It should be noted that in a number of decisions affiliates and/or State Branches are asked to take appropriate action: in such instances the affiliates and/or State Branches are being approached directly by the ACTU administration. AUGUST 19 RALLY The ACTU Council congratulates all those trade unionists and community supporters, well over 50,000, who rallied and protested in Canberra and many other cities on August 19th 1996 against the Howard Government’s proposed industrial relations changes. The ACTU thanks the broad range of community groups (including ACOSS, FECCA, Women’s organisations, youth groups and churches) for standing with the ACTU in opposition to the proposed legislation. The success of the mobilisation of tens of thousands of people on that day was overshadowed by the actions of a small minority of protesters at the Canberra rally, who engaged in behaviour not condoned by the union movement. The ACTU Council condemns, in the strongest terms, the violent actions of a small minority of protesters at the rally. These acts of violence and destruction of property are totally abhorrent to the union movement and any person found to be involved should receive no support or comfort from our movement. The actions of these people undermined the collective objectives of the union movement’s campaign against the legislation and caused harm to the reputation and standing of the union movement. The Council acknowledges that the organisational arrangements on the day were in conformity with Federal Police requirements, but clearly inadequate to handle these unforeseen events. Accordingly, a protocol will be developed for future rallies and protests as requested by the Australian Federal Police Association. The ACTU Council regrets what occurred, including injury to police and staff, but is not responsible for the actions of a small minority of the 30,000 participants at the Canberra rally. Individuals who act outside the collective framework and damage the collective standing of the union movement will receive no support or comfort from the movement. The ACTU Council believes that all citizens are entitled to the due processes of law. Should individual union officials or union members be charged and found guilty of serious offences, the Council is of the firm view that disciplinary action by the unions is warranted. While the actions of the tiny minority have undoubtedly done harm to the collective union movement, the extent of the union and community opposition displayed that day highlights our determination to continue to campaign in opposition to the Howard Government’s Industrial Relations Legislation. Matters for Information 3 September, 1996 ADDRESS BY BOB ADAMSON - AMWU Council notes the report from Bob Adamson in relation to the successful operation of the Hunter Valley Labour Council (HVLC). Council congratulates the HVLC on its endeavours to provide unionists with an alternative to the profit driven labour hire industry. Council determines to work closely with the HVLC to assist the Co-operative to expand and provide alternatives to the established and the peripheral operators in the labour hire industry in as wide a range of industries as possible. INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS LEGISLATION Council notes with appreciation the position of the non-Government Senators in the recently concluded Senate Economics References Committee review of the proposed Workplace Relations Bill. Whilst the translation of these broad statements of principle into legislative amendments give us hope that the more unreasonable aspects of this Bill can be moderated it is important that we recognise that nothing can be taken for granted. It is likely that the Bill will be debated and then dealt with in the Committee stages by the Senate within the next two months. All unions need to focus their campaigning techniques. Specifically all state peak councils should co- ordinate campaign initiatives such as the following: · Seek publicity to illustrate individual injustice or potential injustice likely to be a consequence of the proposed Bill. · Co-ordinate delegates/activist’s meetings to relay the current status of the Bill’s passage/political reception. · Organise delegations to non-government Senators. All affiliates should participate in the above process as well as continuing other campaigning initiatives they consider would be relevant in the current environment. This Council congratulates the ALP and Democrat Senators who have prepared well considered and worker sympathetic reports. We also recognise and appreciate the support for our concerns already expressed by Independent Senators Harradine and Colston and the Greens. Matters for Information 4 September, 1996 INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS LEGISLATION (Contd.) In order for campaigning initiatives to be appropriately focused Council endorses the list of items that constitute grounds of concern that have not as yet been adequately addressed. Council is of the view that this list of areas of concern should not be the subject of a process of negotiation that may disturb already settled areas acknowledged as requiring amendments. ACTU Officers are asked to maintain effective lines of communication with the non-government Senators particularly to ensure areas already understood to be settled are not subsequently downgraded and to reinforce the importance of our outstanding concerns. Council congratulates affiliates and state labour councils on their work to date and urges an increase in those efforts in order to ensure a satisfactory level of legislative amendments necessary to protect working people’s wages and conditions of employment. PUBLIC SECTOR CUT BACKS ACTU Council endorses a campaign against cuts to public spending, recognising that the Federal Government’s budget and associated policies will lead to significant job losses, and cuts to programs services and benefits to the community. The effect of the cuts will be felt right across the Australian community, not just in the public sector but other sectors also through the loss of spending on infrastructure, direct assistance (eg through grants). Council supports a campaign which has the following elements: 1. ACTU co-ordination of a lobbying campaign to overturn those initiatives in the Budget which can be altered, and to reject the legislative changes which we oppose (eg the abolition of the CES). To enable this work to be done effectively, the ACTU will co-ordinate information and analysis of the Budget and arrange meetings of affiliates to plan this part of the campaign. 2. In support of this stage of the campaign and in order to develop an ongoing community based campaign, the ACTU will convene a meeting of relevant affiliates to develop a co-ordinated strategy of community based action. This will be a high level committee which may include federal secretaries of unions and will involve dedicated campaign co- Matters for Information 5 September, 1996 ordinators from unions who will work together on the ongoing campaign. The committee will discuss strategies which may include: Matters for Information 6 September, 1996 PUBLIC SECTOR CUT BACKS (Contd.) - targeting a key marginal seat in each State and Territory for ongoing action, this will include analysing in detail the effect of cuts to the region; - organising public meetings or events in these and other appropriate centres; - developing broadbased campaign groups in these centres, including local community organisations and individuals; - encouraging the development of a local “charter of government responsibilities” to which local MPs would be asked to make a commitment; - developing joint campaigning materials, and co-ordinating the distribution between unions of materials; - considering using billboards in towns to publicise our issues; - developing the “public sector dollars” campaign for broader use; - developing a “respected persons” network to make public comment on these issues; - ensuring local organisations such as TLCs are involved in campaigns; - organising other local events which are positive and enjoyable and publicise our issues. A report from this committee should be regularly provided to unions and meetings of ACTU Council and Executive. LIN 1. That the following LIN databases be continued: - Summary of key words from AIRC decisions; - Sample clauses from enterprise agreements; - Index to relevant journal articles and books or monographs held by LIN; Matters for Information 7 September, 1996 LIN (Contd.) - List of awards; - List of Federally registered agreements; and - Index to ACTU D No documents. 2. That the following databases be discontinued: - Training materials database (although relevant training material will be included in normal Library index); - Unfair dismissals database (the decisions are available in full text on the Internet); - Video collection abstracts (this database will not be deleted but no new videos are anticipated). 3. The ACTU approach the government and the Commission to transfer responsibility for the maintenance of a full text awards and decisions facility to the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AUSTLII) based at the University of Sydney. 4. The ACTU approach other FATEXT users (employers/law firms) to explore support for this approach. 5. If (3) above is not achieved, LIN undertake to maintain the full text of 40 key awards and its decisions summary on WorkNet. Affiliates be encouraged to load other awards on to WorkNet and maintain these. ACTU OFFICE ACCOMODATION That the ACTU discuss and finalise with the VTHC the arrangements for the ACTU to take space in the Trades Hall building. REGIONAL RECRUITMENT Council notes that consistent with previous ACTU decisions the following decisions be authorised: Matters for Information 8 September, 1996 * The establishment of the WEIPA Workers Council and the funding by the ACTU of $20,000 to supplement the contribution of the participating unions. Matters for Information 9 September, 1996 REGIONAL RECRUITMENT (Contd.) * The placement of a joint organiser in the Pilbara region. The ACTU shall allocate $20,000. * The placement of a joint organiser in the Roxby Downs region. (The ACTU allocated a further $20,000). In addition to these developments Council endorse: Victoria: The ACTU-VTHC pilot programs in South West Victoria, Ballarat and the Dandenong-Cranbourne Region in Victoria. Council authorises $45,000 to be spent over the next year. South Australia: In addition to the Roxby Downs proposal the development of South Eastern SA Region (Mt Gambier) be considered as a pilot project subject to discussion with Unions and UTLC of SA. Queensland: The ACTU confer further with the QTLC and AWU regarding the development of 2 pilot programs. New South Wales: The ACTU should have discussions with the Labor Council of NSW. The Northern Rivers and the Hunter Valley are suggested priorities. Tasmania: A meeting be held in Tasmania to consider the priorities for regional union organisation. EDUCATION AND THE LIVING WAGE 1. That the rising impact of education costs upon working people due to changes to the funding of early childhood education, schools, and Matters for Information 10 September, 1996 post-secondary and tertiary institutions should be included in the calculations of the cost of living for the purposes of the Living Wage Claim. These include: * public and non-government pre-school and school charges and fees; Matters for Information 11 September, 1996 EDUCATION AND THE LIVING WAGE (Contd.) * childcare costs; * cuts to Austudy payments for students at school, post-secondary and tertiary levels; * fees and charges in post-secondary and tertiary institutions. 2. That the ACTU Council condemns the Howard-Vanstone-Kemp budget changes to education provision which will shift the cost of education inequitably to working people and will have the effect of increasing privatisation in schools, universities and in vocational education. The Council calls on the Senate to oppose these changes to education legislation and in particular block increases in the Higher Education Contribution Scheme which include lowering the repayment income threshold, fees for undergraduate courses and the rise in the age of independence for Austudy eligibility to 25 years, and residential requirements for Austudy affecting migrants. 3. The ACTU Council determines to form an Education Working Group to have an input on these issues to the Living Wage Claim and to integrate education cost increases into submissions. The Group’s activity is to be linked to the ACTU’s community-based action campaign against cuts to public spending. The Working Group will report proposals to the ACTU Executive and will be drawn from a range of affiliates including the CFMEU, FSU, AMWU, CPSU, LHMU, IEU, AEU, NTEU and other interested unions. CONTRACTING OUT In view of the dramatic expansion of contracting as a means of deregulating large sections of the workforce Australia now has the position of: * having the fastest rate of growth of self-employment persons in the OECD countries; * a diminishing PAYE tax base as large numbers of workers are no longer classified as employees; this ACTU Council meeting resolves: Matters for Information 12 September, 1996 CONTRACTING OUT (Contd.) 1. That in respect of contracting out techniques that are being used on a widespread basis we determine to develop a Comprehensive Policy and Strategy which should involve a) a research and information gathering process; b) the examination of a Test Case or other legal responses; c) that a set of general objectives and principles be developed that include: i) preventative measures (benchmarking etc); ii) demand the right to be involved at all stages of the contracting out process; iii) job security measures be developed; iv) that we demand the employment standards applying to the work be maintained; v) that enforcement of standards in contracted out work situations be given priority; vi) other measures. In order that work be expedited on a Comprehensive Policy and Strategy an urgent meeting under the auspices of the ACTU be convened with a view to an appropriate working party being established to take this process forward. 2. That in relation to the major threat of the expansion of independent contractors that we given priority to addressing four particular aspects of the problem. These are: i) Unfair contracts provision We continue to work to deliver the best possible outcome in either the Industrial Relations Act or the Trade Practices Act. We specifically endorse the approach of picking up in the Federal legislation the “harsh and unconscionable contracts” provisions of the NSW legislation. ii) Regulating the rates and conditions of independent contractors. In order to advance this we need to address the problem in the Trade Practices Act which may suggest that this kind of regulation represents collusive conduct or price fixing. In particular, we work Matters for Information 13 September, 1996 CONTRACTING OUT (Contd.) to exclude “contracts for labour only or substantially labour only” to be included in the Trade Practices Act from any connotation of price-fixing. In order to advance this we need to work with the ALP and Democrats to seek to give effect to an amendment that the ALP has developed to the Workplace Relations Bill. iii) Social and community implications of massive tax avoidance. That the trade union movement needs to highlight this aspect of the growth of independent contracting. That in doing so we handle the matter in a careful way such that we are not portrayed as tax collectors hounding workers. That we seek to discuss the implications of this with ACOSS and other community groups. iv) Union strategy for tackling bogus sub-contracting. That in working up our strategy in this area that we recognise it is a wide-ranging issue with different methods and techniques suitable for different industries. We must also place our emphasis on targeting the employers who perpetrate these rorts, not the workers who are usually given little choice i.e. we shouldn’t be punishing workers who find themselves caught in this net. That in order to further develop these issues that an urgent meeting of ACTU affiliates be convened. TUTA That representation on Executive Committee of Management of 'new TUTA' be: ACTU AMWU LHMU Matters for Information 14 September, 1996 NUW ASU SDA AEU/IEU CEPU FSU That academic and employer representatives (broadly consistent with the old TUTA Board) be appointed to the Committee of Management. Matters for Information 15 September, 1996 TUTA (Contd.) That the following officers of the new association be appointed under the rules Chairperson Michael O'Sullivan Deputy Chairperson (to be determined) Executive Officer/Secretary Michael Crosby That the Trade Union Education Foundation be formally launched by establishing the Whitlam Lectures on 8th February 1997 (30th Anniversary of Whitlam's election as leader of the parliamentary Labor party). That the ACTU run a test case to transfer trade union training leave course approval requirements in awards from the Trade Union Training Authority to 'new TUTA'. ORGANISING WORKS That the 1997 Intake of Organising Works trainees be scheduled for March 1997. That affiliated unions be asked to advise the number of trainees sought prior to the December Executive. That the Organising Works program for 1997 operate in 2-3 states and depending on the number of trainees sought by affiliates and that in 1998 the program operate in the alternate states. That in states where the Organising Works program is not scheduled to operate in 1997, outplaced trainees be available provided that participating affiliates fund travel to block training on at least six occasions. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION Matters for Information 16 September, 1996 ACTU Council notes the significant contributions made by affiliates to the process of microeconomic reform and the improved productive performance of the Australian economy. Council determines that it is important that all affiliates continue to participate in their industry sectors and at the enterprise level in a positive and equitable process of micro economic reform. Matters for Information 17 September, 1996 PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION (Contd.) ACTU Council is of the view that the Productivity Commission has demonstrated that it has no credibility to undertake a balanced and independent enquiry into the Automotive Industry or other significant areas of the Australian economy. The report “Stocktake of Progress in Microeconomic Reform” has prejudiced the Productivity Commission, by exposing the Commission’s preconceived conclusions on a range of social, political and economic issues of fundamental importance to all Australians. Council rejects the Commission’s assessment found in the report “Stocktake of Progress in Microeconomic Reform” that : “Enactment of key elements of the Workplace Relations Bill would be a significant advance in the evolution of an efficient regulatory framework to better facilitate agreements between employees and employers on wages, conditions and work practices.” The bias of the Commission is further exposed by the fact that in contrast to approximately 14 pages of comment and assessment on Industrial Relations the issue of management skills receives four paragraphs inclusive of comment and assessment. This is a serious omission and demonstrates a lack of technical analysis from the Commission. Council notes that the Productivity Commission advocates a “wide scope for reform” in the following sectors: - Labour markets and industrial relations - Competition Policy - Economic infrastructure - Education, health and community services - Taxation - Trade & industry assistance Matters for Information 18 September, 1996 - Resources and the environment - Regulatory reform - Performance of governments Council is of the view that the Productivity Commission with its predetermined views based on the ascendancy of neo classical economic theory over social and equity imperatives can and will be used as a political tool of the Howard Government. Matters for Information 19 September, 1996 PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION (Contd.) Council endorses the decision of the AMWU to boycott the Productivity Commission inquiry into the vehicle and component sector and calls on all affiliates to determine whether to boycott or participate in such an enquiry on a case by case basis recognising that the Productivity Commission has predetermined views regardless of union input. Council therefore determines to establish a sub committee to examine in detail the ideology, and assessments of the Productivity Commission in a range of sectors with union involvement. The Committee to prepare a report for the ACTU Executive as a matter of urgency dealing with but not limited to: - Implications of Productivity Commission inquiry into various sectors for affiliates - Ways to engage with and support union members and the various community and interest groups which represent those affected by the Productivity Commission and the Howard Government. - A mechanism to respond to Productivity Commission recommendations that includes analysis of the social and equity outcomes of the recommendations. - The membership, funding and terms of reference of an ACTU/Community Organisations committee which will develop widespread understanding and opposition to unacceptable conclusions and recommendations of Productivity Commission enquiries. - The mechanisms available to affiliates to conduct and prepare alternative reports to the Productivity Commission reports and the most appropriate method of Matters for Information 20 September, 1996 presenting these reports to the Government, Parliament and industry. COMMENDATION - G. CAMPBELL That the ACTU Council places on record its appreciation to George Campbell for his outstanding contribution to the AMWU, ACTU and trade unionism generally. Matters for Information 21 September, 1996 OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY That the ACTU Executive/Council: (a) notes the 1996/97 ACTU OHS workplan; (b) agrees that OHS is an important issue and should be an integral part of union workplans and their organising and recruitment strategies; and (c) agrees that the trade union movement must maintain an effective national presence in OHS. BRIAN FRASER MEMORIAL CAMPAIGN In memory of the late B. Fraser who recently passed away due to asbestos induced mesothelioma the ACTU Council determines that the National Chemicals Campaign be renamed the "Brian Fraser Asbestos Eradication and Chemical Control Campaign". VOCATIONAL TRAINING That the following decision of the Vocational Training Committee be endorsed: This meeting of ACTU affiliates involved in vocational training: [i] Notes the Federal Government's intentions to introduce the Modern Australian Apprenticeship and Traineeship system with the intention of further extending vocational training opportunities to school leavers and existing workers. The intention of the MAATS system essentially carries on the aims for the application of the AVTS to most school leavers and the existing workforce over the next few years. Matters for Information 22 September, 1996 [ii] The ACTU and unions support the broadening of a quality vocational training system to a greater range of industries, enterprises, occupations and work levels. However, the system must be based on: - National competency standards; - Portable skills; - National frameworks of competencies and qualifications; Matters for Information 23 September, 1996 VOCATIONAL TRAINING (Contd.) - Union and employer involvement in industry bodies leading the training system; - Responsibility for quality and consistency in the system to be undertaken by the National Training Framework Committee; and - Workable mutual recognition arrangements. The ACTU will oppose any attempts to weaken the national framework by: - any approval of enterprise standards which are inconsistent with endorsed industry standards; - fragmentation of the ITAB network; - any determination of the AQF level by the training provider rather than by the endorsed standards package. [iii] The ACTU notes that the objectives of MAATS cannot be achieved in an environment where: - funding for standards, curriculum development and review may be cut; - assistance to employers to take on apprentices and trainees has been substantially cut. [iv] Proposals to delegate significant areas of responsibility in the training system to 'regional bodies' made up essentially of employers are of serious concern in terms of the maintenance of quality and portable outcomes in the training system. [v] The ACTU believes that the achievement of a quality system which protects apprentices and trainees requires: - training which meets the national training framework (see (ii) above); Matters for Information 24 September, 1996 - preservation of the system of declared trades and vocations, but reforming it so that packages based on national standards declared in one State are automatically declared in all others; and - independent processes for the approval of training agreements and their administration. Matters for Information 25 September, 1996 VOCATIONAL TRAINING (Contd.) [vi] The ACTU rejects proposals to set wages for apprentices and vocational trainees on the basis of training time being regarded as non-productive and unpaid. The reduction of wage levels in the vocational training areas has the potential to destroy the vocational training system by seriously reducing its attractiveness to school leavers. In addition the discounting proposal is fundamentally unfair. Wages for apprentices and vocational trainees need to be set by reference to factors such as competency levels, prevailing standards, the need to attract capable young people into training and the overall contribution/value of the young person to the employer. The simplistic setting of rates by discounting training time will lead to low wages and exploitation of vocational trainees by employers. [vii] The ACTU opposes the provisions of the Workplace Relations Bill which: - allow AWAs and CAs to bypass State training legislation in respect of the quality of apprenticeships and traineeships; - allow for cuts in apprentice and trainee wages and conditions. [viii] The ACTU meeting notes the steps taken by the Federal Government and ANTA to marginalise and exclude the union movement from involvement in vocational training forums. The restructure of the SCC and the current review of ITAB's are two examples of these actions. To date the role of vocational training has been one of constructive co- operation between employers and unions representing employees. The ACTU and unions will actively resist Matters for Information 26 September, 1996 marginalisation and exclusion from the vocational training area. [ix] This meeting of affiliates supports the need for a JITEC statement and believes that the statement before it will assist in protecting the quality of the apprenticeship and traineeship scheme. However, in endorsing any document it should be clear that the ACTU opposes the Workplace Relations Bill as it affects apprenticeships and traineeships. Matters for Information 27 September, 1996 WORKERS COMPENSATION The ACTU Council notes the publication of the HOWCA report "Promoting Excellence, National Consistency in Australian Workers Compensation". While the ACTU Council notes that there are some areas of the HOWCA report which make a positive contribution to the reform of workers compensation, the Council views with great concern many of the HOWCA proposals which would, if implemented, represent a substantial erosion of the rights and entitlements of injured workers and would undermine the role of workers compensation systems in providing full compensation for employment related injury and disease. The ACTU Council determines that the ACTU co-ordinate the activities of affiliates and State Trades and Labor Councils to develop an effective response to the report. The response to particularly address issues such as: 1. Identification of major areas of concern for particular states and affiliates. 2. Preparation of submission by the ACTU, State Trades and Labor Councils, and affiliates for HOWCA by 31 October 1996. 3. Lobbying of Federal and State politicians (government and opposition) in the lead up LMC meeting in October and beyond. 4. Establishment of liaison with affected community groups including law firms and support groups. 5. Development with each affiliate appropriate industrial response to report with a view to affecting change to the proposals (eg industrial campaigns) and dealing with Matters for Information 28 September, 1996 changes foreshadowed by making necessary claim on employers as part of Enterprise Bargaining. ACTION RESOLUTION 1. INTRODUCTION The 1996 ACTU Council recognises the substantial challenges facing the Labor movement in 1996 and beyond. Hostile governments at the Federal and State/Territory levels, cut- backs in publicly funded programs of support for those least able to manage, the threat of anti-union industrial laws at the Federal level and the likelihood of rising unemployment are collectively a serious challenge which requires total and effective commitment by trade unions on behalf of working people. Matters for Information 29 September, 1996 ACTION RESOLUTION (Contd.) 2. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS 2.1 In the twelve months since the ACTU Congress, Council notes that we have made progress in preparing ourselves for the years ahead. This includes outcomes such as: i] An effective response has been developed to the anti-union Federal Industrial laws. We have gathered strong political and public support for our stand, including Churches, community organisations and women’s groups. In addition, there has been a strong campaign in pursuit of the Letter of Demand served on employers ii] Enterprise bargaining has continued with settlements for twelve months in the order of 6% in many cases. A significant victory was secured in Victoria overcoming discrimination against union members in the public sector iii] Equal pay for women has been effectively pursued iv] The Living Wage campaign has progressed to the stage where we have commenced arbitral proceedings. This case has the potential to set new and fair minimum standards for all Australian workers and further progress the cause of equal pay v] Occupational Health and Workers Compensation have been the subject of ongoing co-ordinated activity in areas of considerable importance Matters for Information 30 September, 1996 vi] Vocational training initiatives have been taken in response to the MAATS proposals of the Federal and State governments. A proposed agreement with major employers has been developed re MAATS vii] Union recruitment activity has continued with the objective of reversing the trends of recent years. Industry campaigning by unions, regional initiatives, Helpline, telephone win-back campaigns and Organising Works have all contributed positively Matters for Information 31 September, 1996 ACTION RESOLUTION (Contd.) viii] The ACTU and unions have established New TUTA which will improve the quality of union education ix] Unions have commenced a broadened program of delegate conferences designed to ensure that workplace representatives have greater involvement in the broad policy direction for the union movement 2.2 Union activity has rarely been easy or popular, while social and economic trends are making our job even harder. Council acknowledges that we in turn must respond with new initiatives and higher levels of effectiveness. 3. PRIORITIES FOR ACTION 3.1 In setting out our objectives for the next period the Council records its priorities as : i] 1997 must see the further consolidation of enterprise bargaining and other wage initiatives leading to higher living standards for all Australian workers. This will include : a] Wage targets for a further expansion of enterprise bargaining in 1997 to be set by the December Executive meeting b] The finalisation of Stage 1 of the Living Wage Case c] Ongoing action to achieve equal pay for women Matters for Information 32 September, 1996 d] A campaign to ensure that young people in vocational training continue to get decent wages e] Begin review of working hours. ii] Unions and the ACTU must continue their efforts to attract new members and retain those currently in our ranks. Actions will include: a] Restructuring our regional organisation, continuing recruitment campaigns and initiatives in regional areas b] Expanding and improving our job delegate structure Matters for Information 33 September, 1996 ACTION RESOLUTION (Contd.) c] Ensuring that day-to-day union services are provided effectively d] Promoting democratic and representative organisations e] Developing new technology in an integrated fashion to better service membership needs f] Further develop union education iii] Unions and the ACTU need to work closely with other groups to counter the divisive and socially unacceptable consequences of the Federal government’s economic policies. We need to work closely with groups such as the Labor Party, the Democrats and other Parties, ACOSS, environmental organisations, the unemployed and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. A structured approach to improve communication and working together with these groups needs to be achieved. In particular campaigns need to be developed around issues such as : a] Unemployment levels b] Industry development c] The Howard/Costello Budget d] Attacks on the public sector, including the erosion of education and health services e] Social welfare standards Matters for Information 34 September, 1996 f] The rights of indigenous people g] Contracting out and home based work. iv] Superannuation standards need to be improved in line with the relevant legislation enacted by the Labor government. The significance of union involvement in industry funds needs to be recognised and maintained v] Campaigns against anti-union strategies of companies such as RTZ/CRA will be continued. Matters for Information 35 September, 1996 ACTION RESOLUTION (Contd.) vi] The historic and essential close working relationship between the union movement and the Australian Labor Party needs to be strengthened. The defeat of the Labor Party at the 1996 Federal election and the subsequent change in leadership requires a fresh approach to our working together vii] A further test case to improve the level of TCR benefits will be undertaken. viii] Ongoing activity needs to be maintained in a range of core areas of union work. This includes areas such as: a] Workers Compensation reform b] Occupational Health and Safety standards c] Vocational training opportunities d] Assistance to union movements in our region e] Overcoming discrimination in the workplace 4 The ACTU Council acknowledges that to meet the needs of our members and workers generally will require effective and united action. The challenges ahead are substantial. With the support of the membership of affiliated unions we are confident of success.
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