By Barry Healy
MELBOURNE - Active members and delegates from the Public Sector Union in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra held a national con- ference here on January 26 to discuss problems facing public servants and map out a strategy against the current direction of the PSU leadership.
Discussion focused largely on enterprise bargaining, wages and union amalgamations. It was felt the existing national leadership, gathered around Peter Robson, had already agreed to enterprise bargaining within the framework of Accord Mark VI without informing the membership. The meeting decided to launch a national campaign against this deal.
The 25 participants also agreed on a campaign to undo the damage caused by previous wage trade-offs. The focus of this will be the so-called "efficiency dividend", the mechanism used by the government to cut jobs in return for pay rises.
The conference heard a report on manoeuvres to amalgamate the PSU with state Public Service Associations. The federal council of the PSAs will shortly apply for federal registration and will then unite with the PSU, creating a union of more than 250,000 members.
None of this has been made known to most members of the unions involved. The rank-and-file conference supported democratic moves towards amalgamation but expressed concern over the present situation.
The conference also decided to produce a national newsletter for union delegates.