I wanted to let you all know how the first week of the campaign against the ABCC Building Code has progressed and what the next few weeks of the campaign looks like.
As many of you already know, this campaign is a result of the Australian Building and Construction Commission refusing to exempt all of SAPN from the Building Code because, the ABCC believes parts of SAPN do not perform essential services. This means that any future EBA must be “code compliant” and would ensure that around 36 clauses of your current agreement would be illegal. Some of these clauses include consultation, hours of work, safety, wage parity with contractors and labour hire, and protection of union members and delegates.
This decision is able to be reviewed by the Federal Court; the union has made an application and the matter is set down for hearing on the 25th September this year.
It is essential to remember that your current agreement, even though it nominally expired last year, remains in force and is deemed to be “code compliant’ because it was made before the code came into effect. Nothing can change until you vote to replace that agreement, or it is terminated by the Fair Work Commission.
The campaign we are undertaking is one of national significance and impact; the whole national CEPU/ETU organisation is supporting this effort. The ACTU is also supporting the campaign; you have lots of support with this matter.
We commenced the campaign with an official launch, sausage sizzle and a delegates meeting on Monday evening. It was well attended and gave those in attendance the opportunity to meet with, and be briefed by, the local, interstate and national officials who are participating in the activity.
We need to make a couple of points.
Most of you have said that you are aware of the Fair Work Commission decision reducing penalty rates in the retail sector. You have also told us that you believe that decision would never have been made if union membership was well above the pathetic 14% of the Australian workforce it is now. Union membership, and the views of the union’s members are important to this campaign and are likely to be taken into account by the Federal Court, and the Fair Work Commission in the event that any case is heard by that tribunal.
The campaign message is very clear:
What we achieved this week:
Materials we were able to distribute:
What you can do:
Next week will see an increase in activities, especially in relation to engaging with members of the public, politicians, non-union members and also getting to those members we weren’t able to see this week.
We’ll also be working hard to get the public meeting organised for the 21st July. Make every effort to get there, don’t leave it up to the usual suspects to carry the load.
Finally, our delegates endorsed the campaign plan and made the point to the union’s officials that our members would own this campaign; that’s the way it was designed and it will deliver if each of you owns it.
JOIN THE UNION, JOIN THE FIGHT.
This article was written by John Adley