||Issue No. 157||18 October 2002|
End of Ignorance
Interview: The Wet One
Bad Boss: Like A Bastard
Unions: Demolition Derby
Corporate: The Bush Doctrine
Politics: American Jihad
Health: Secret Country
Review: Walking On Water
Poetry: The UQ Stonewall
Month In Review
The Locker Room
Memo to Junior
Pandora's Box on Prayer?
Unions Target Corporate AGMs
Qantas unions this week challenged a 36 per cent pay rise for directors while the CEPUís Len Cooper makes his annual tilt at the Telstra Board.
At the Qantas AGM in Perth, members of the Australian Services Union, Flight Attendants Association of Australia and Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association handed out fliers to shareholders attending the meeting.
Inside, unions asked a series of questions about the remuneration packages, attempts to cut cabin crew numbers and down grading of ground inspections on domestic flights. Employees have 1.9 per cent of the shares in Qantas - making them the fifteenth largest shareholder in the company.
Unions attending the meeting say the experience was positive in raising the issues, but ultimately frustrating as the Qantas board controlled millions of proxies from the major investors.
The Australian Services Union's Linda White says that Qantas chairwoman Margaret Jackson was forced to defend the director increases, describing the 12 per cent per annum wage as "modest" - an attitude unions were sure to take on board in future negotiations..
"I've been to these meetings for a few years, there was definitely more support from the floor than I've seen in the past," White says. "It was defini8tely more than just the employee reps voting against the propositions."
"Our expectation wasn't to knock off the company resolutions this time around, but we are definitely setting the scene for a more activist shareholder base."
FAAA national secretary Johanna Brem described the AGM as 'really interesting'. "There seemed to be support from the shareholders on the floor, with a lot of debate on the executive salaries and remuneration at the meeting, but the proxies of the institutional investors supported the increase," Brem says.
"The real power to change corporate behaviour lies with the institutional investors, and we need to look at how industry super funds vote if we really want to change things."
Cooper Vies For Board Position
Meanwhile, the Victorian Secretary of the Communications Union (CEPU) Len Cooper has announced he will once again be running against the Federal Government's candidates for the board of Telstra.
Cooper has the backing of Telstra employee shareholders, and in previous years his votes from the "mum and dad" shareholders and even institutions has been growing steadily. This year should be no exception.
He is campaigning on some basic issues
∑ not enough investment to improve and retain service standards
∑ destructive job cuts, now 45,000 since June 1996
∑ corporate governence standards
∑ board support for the complete privatisation of Telstra, despite overwhelming public and shareholder opposition
∑ industrial relations driven by ideology not commercial good sense.
"We are out to highlight these issues to the Telstra board, and the general public, and to demonstrate the lack of confidence in the board amongst the shareholders," Cooper says.
Cooper is calling for the proxy votes of shareholders who cannot attend the Telstra Annual General meeting on the 15th November 2002.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|