CPSU rank-and-file call for a real union!

July 24, 2002


CANBERRA — Rank-and-file ACT activists in the Community and Public Sector Union grouped around Members First, have issued a call to all CPSU members who want to rebuild a democratic, broad campaigning approach to defend and advance wages, conditions and the public sector generally.

With Prime Minister John Howard and workplace relations minister Tony Abbott attacking the public sector and militant trade unions, the Members First platform aims to build and extend a national network around eleven main proposals:

* Immediately instituting a system of "pattern bargaining" across certified agreements. By moving to a common time frame, this could be an essential first step towards a common public service-wide award;

* Restoring accountability of union officials and members' participation in the union. Officials to be bound to put into practice decisions made by members;

* A united approach against all individual agreements and performance-based pay increases, including raising conditions in certified agreements to the level of individual agreement incentives;

* Giving members full details of wages and conditions in each public service agency;

* Campaigning against outsourcing, privatisation, understaffing and longer work hours, and for a 35-hour work-week and improved public services;

* Focusing on the core business of the union, representing member's interests and assisting individual members to resolve grievances (including bullying, harassment or victimisation). This will win back more confidence in the CPSU than attempting to buy members through organising cheap computers or other commercial deals;

* Building genuine campaigns against patronage and favouritism, harassment, complaint handling and other management abuses;

* Using CPSU resources primarily to support the interests of members;

* Stopping the victimisation and unfair dismissal of union employees based on their alignment with union factions;

* Publishing full details of the salaries of all paid union officials, staff and "lobbyists";

* Work with, and take actions in solidarity with, other unions and community groups to promote our social justice, community and environmental needs, and working conditions generally.

Campaigning for these proposals will benefit a CPSU facing declining membership and a dogs-breakfast of wages and conditions across different agencies. Outgoing national secretary Wendy Caird is retiring from a top-down restructured and demoralised CPSU, whose own staff have even taken industrial action.

To view the entire platform or to get involved phone Andrew on 0438 624 744, (02) 6276 0379, or email <membersfirst@bigpond.com>. ACT Members First meets the first Thursday of each month.

From Green Left Weekly, July 24, 2002.
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