2018 Secretary's Report

Thursday 06 Dec 2018

(This is an edited version of the Secretary’s Report delivered by Dan Hill to the AGM on 5th December 2018)

It is often said that a union is only as strong as it’s members. It is only by working together that we have the capacity to maintain and protect the wages and conditions that members have achieved over the years. Now in its 63rd year the HSUWA has achieved much through the support of members and our strong advocacy. It has been said that the Union punches above its weight in many respects. But our capacity to continue to deliver better wages and conditions for members is under challenge.

Federally, the laws under which we bargain for our private sector members have been subject to regressive changes by conservative Federal governments. The rules are broken and they need to be changed. In the next Federal election (expected by May next year) I urge you to support the ACTU’s change the rules campaign and vote for those parties and candidates that commit to ensuring that working men and women in Australia receive decent wage increases and that our Unions capacity to achieve change is not restricted by unfair and unworkable laws. Our private sector members deserve better.

Public sector unions are working together in lobbying the McGowan Labor Govt to review its wages policy so that we can realistically campaign and negotiate for wage increases above the current $1,000 per annum cap in the next wages round commencing for us in early 2020.

We have in our 2018 Agreement and through combined public sector union negotiations with government, achieved a conversion to permanency process that addresses the unprecedented growth in insecure employment in the public sector. There is much to be done in 2019 to ensure that employees in fixed term and casual employment are converted to permanent. We will assist members and I ask that you encourage your colleagues who may be affected to join the HSUWA if they are not already members.

The take home message is that for the union to continue to be strong we must grow. Our membership must grow. The HSUWA has managed 6.4% compound growth in membership over the past 14 years but our rate of growth is slowing. In the 12 months to 30 September 2018 we grew by 0.1%. Pleasingly, in the last two months we have experienced an increase of 54 financial members and if this was maintained over the year, we would achieve a 5.5% increase in membership by 30 September 2019.

But this does not happen by magic. Our workplace reps play an important role in recruitment and our Organisers are working hard to increase the Rep numbers and provide training and support. This evening we recognise the work our Reps do in the award of Workplace Rep of the Year. But we can’t leave it all to our Reps and our Organisers. All members can contribute by simply talking about union in your workplace. Share your experience and invite new employees (and those that have been around for a while!) to join. It is that simple! Together we can achieve our 8% growth target as mentioned by Cheryl in her report and grow HSUWA membership for the first time to in excess of 6,000 financial members.

The demands on the union have continued to grow in 2018 and we will publish a summary of our industrial, bargaining and membership activity for the year in our online Member News.

Your Committee of Management continue to provide sound leadership and good governance of the Union. I thank all COM members for their continuing contribution and support. Our Vice President Jodie Freeman chose not to renominate in the recent election and I acknowledge Jodie’s contribution since joining the COM in mid-2012 and for stepping up in 2016 to fill a casual vacancy as Vice President. Thanks Jodie. Congratulations to Brendan McKernan who has been elected Vice President. We also welcome Cassie Reading, OT at SCGH to the Committee.

On the staffing side Katrina Robertson has taken on a permanent appointment as Organiser and is working in our private sector team following the departure of Linda Rasmussen to an OHS position in the resources sector. At the present we have also welcomed back on contract Organiser Carla Swiderski following some years away getting married and starting a family.

Senior Organiser, Melissa Wagner has taken a period of LWOP until the end of March 2019 whilst she gains experience working as a Lead Organiser on contract with the CPSU/CSA. We have been fortunate in engaging former HSUWA member Rosalie Miles on contract as an Organiser covering Melissa’s absence.

Charlie Studsor has been appointed as an Industrial Officer and Karen Heal has become our Enquiries Officer.

To all our staff I personally and on behalf of members extend my thanks for your continuing commitment in providing the best possible support and service to members.

Finally, I wish all present, all members and your families a very happy Christmas and the best for 2019.

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