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News & Views from the RTBU NSW Locomotive Division

ACTU Congress 2015

May 29, 2015News

The ACTU Congress was held in Melbourne during the week, with around 800 delegates from affiliated unions meeting to discuss the union movement’s agenda for the next three years.

Our Union was successful in getting a number of important issues recognised by the Congress. Some of the highlights of the Congress were:

– A policy from the RTBU to amend the Fair Work Act to stop employers from terminating Enterprise Agreements – particularly while new agreements are being negotiated;

– Support for the RTBU’s campaign for Truth in Bargaining laws to make employers disclose the true state of their finances during enterprise negotiations;

– Recognition of the importance of investment in rail and public transport for social inclusion and the environment;

– Support for a national campaign for Domestic Violence Leave;

– A stronger national focus on campaigning and building a stronger national union movement.

Delegation pic

RTBU delegation at the ACTU Congress

Snippets of some of the media coverage of the ACTU Congress
(note – these are excerpts only)

Bill Shorten’s former union refuses to back levy to fight Tony Abbott – AFR, 27 May, 2015
Labor leader Bill Shorten’s former union, the Australian Workers Union, has refused to endorse an ACTU campaign levy to be used to finance the union movement’s bid to defeat the Abbott government.

In an embarrassment for the peak union body, AWU delegates at the ACTU Congress in Melbourne abstained from a resolution to increase the amount that unions pay to the peak union body by 50 per cent. The Rail, Tram and Bus Union also abstained. 

Union leaders said the AWU was among a number of unions who believed they were better ways to spend the money than by diverting cash to the ACTU, which has said it wants to raise $13 million to help elect a Labor government and recruit new members. […]

Senior union sources said some unions would have preferred the levy money be used to combat hostile attacks from well-funded employers or be spent on union-specific industrial campaigns. Read more. 

Unions reject parental leave changes – 9News, 27 May 2015
Trade unions have committed to work with business against the federal government’s push to stop workers claiming paid parental leave from their employer and the taxpayer.

Delegates at the ACTU’s triennial congress in Melbourne on Wednesday voted to condemn the measure announced in the budget, instead favouring 26 weeks leave at full pay. Read more. 

Rosie Batty backs leave for family violence victims – The Australian, 27 May 2015
Australian of the Year Rosie Batty is backing an ACTU push to have domestic violence leave ­enshrined as a basic safety net ­entitlement and has called for more resources to be directed to frontline services for victims.

The ACTU currently has a claim before the industrial umpire to have full-time employees handed 10 days’ paid leave if they are struggling with domestic violence.

Under the proposal, casuals would receive unpaid leave of 10 days, with the submission to be considered as part of Fair Work Australia’s four-yearly modern awards review process. Read more. 

ACTU leaders get another term – 7News, 26 May 2015
Ged Kearney and Dave Oliver will continue to oversee the ACTU as president and secretary after they were re-elected unopposed by trade union delegates.

Ms Kearney has been granted a third term, while Mr Oliver will serve a second, following their endorsement at the council’s congress in Melbourne on Tuesday. Read more. 

Unions commit to more female leaders – SBS, 27 May 2015
Trade union delegates have committed to working towards 50-50 female representation in elected roles of the ACTU and its affiliates.

A survey conducted in September 2014 showed 56 per cent of union members are women. Read more. 

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