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  Issue No 39 Official Organ of LaborNet 12 November 1999  

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Unions

Come Fly Away!


With just four weeks to go, Labor Council's Organiser of the year Award is up for grabs. We've only had the one entry ...

If you think you've got a story to rival this one, you could be jetting off to a destination of your choice over summer.

That's right, Labor Council is offering a $2000 air fare to travel and observe an overseas trade union. Click the button below to enter.

Jesse Choy, NSW Public Service Association

I have been a member of the Public Service Association (PSA) since 1993 when I was first employed as an Award Advisory Officer with the Department of Industrial Relations. After eight months, I joined the ministerial staff of the Attorney General and Minister for Industrial Relations. After working directly for the Minister for four years, a union seemed the most obvious and industrially sound choice. Although I enjoyed working for Jeff Shaw, I believe most people have a limited political life and I had exhausted mine. I applied for and won the position of Organiser in 1998. I began my new industrial career with the PSA in February 1999.

My first major win for a member of the PSA, came some 3 months after I began.

Scott had been acting as a Technical Assistant - Rural Studies at Richmond College of TAFE for three years. The position was advertised in September 1998. He attended an interview in late December 1998. Scott felt confident about his application and his interview. After acting in the role for three years, he had obviously attained the requisite knowledge and experience. However, during the interview he was asked a question that worried him greatly, one which he felt was not within his scope of duties. Scott was told some four months later that he had been unsuccessful in attaining the position and the job would have to be re-advertised.

The local workplace delegate encouraged Scott to contact the union. Jim felt this issue was beyond his capabilities and was a matter for a paid union official. Scott rang me two days later.

Scott came into the PSA in Clarence Street to discuss his situation. Scott was very distressed and had sought medical attention. After acting in the job for three years, he was devastated that he had not been chosen as the most capable candidate. He was depressed and was also suffering with insomnia. Scott had a young family; his daughter Jade was two years old and his wife Larissa was pregnant with their second child. Their baby was due in August. The prospect of unemployment seemed more unpalatable than ever, for him and his young family.

I asked Scott to provide me with the job advertisement, application and the interview panel's report. From the documentation, I was able to ascertain Scott was unsuccessful due to his response to the one question. It was the question which Scott had felt uneasy about and rightfully so.

After fully researching the statement of duties, the advertisement and the comparison with other colleges - I realised the question should not have been permitted. Scott was judged, assessed and rejected on the basis of one inappropriate question. The question did not pertain to either the essential or the desirable criteria of the position advertised.

I sought advice from the TAFE Industrial Officer at the PSA, Sally McManus, and resolved not to contact the convenor of the panel. We also resolved to contact the Western Sydney Institute of TAFE directly, rather than by appeal through GREAT.

Lesson 1: Never be afraid to ask your industrial officer for advice.

I contacted the Employee Relations Manager of the Western Sydney Institute of TAFE, Steven Beasley. I informed him of the PSA's keen interest in this matter, as it felt its' member had been assessed unfairly.

Lesson 2: Aggressive and confrontational tactics are not a starting point for fruitful and positive discussion.

I informed Scott of my movements and reassured him of the PSA's interest.

Lesson 3: Keep the member informed

I also let Scott know that the PSA's involvement does not automatically guarantee expedient resolution.

Lesson 4: Keep realistic timeframes and expectations.

I called Steven Beasley twice in four days to ensure he had called for the panels' report and recommendations. Steven accepted my calls and understood the urgency of the situation.

Lesson 5: Persistency enables familiarity to flourish and relaxes natural adversaries.

Within two weeks, Steven Beasley contacted me to apologise for the detraction from procedure for the interview. Steven accepted that the Institute had failed to adhere to process and as a result, an injustice had occurred. He informed me that he would intervene and would reassess Scott's application personally.

Lesson 6: Intervention by human resources managers can be a good thing.

Fifteen working days later, Scott was appointed to the position of Technical Assistant - Rural Studies at Richmond College of TAFE.

Scott was grateful and overwhelmed by the expediency of the resolution. He was encouraged by the activism of the Public Service Association and particularly, my direct interaction with management. He had never called on his union before, and was unaware of the extent of the union's influence.

I encouraged him to use this positive experience as an introduction to his union and to enroll in the next delegates' training course.

Lesson 7: Grateful members make fantastic delegates.

Scott was nominated as the new delegate for WSIT, Richmond Campus. He has since completed an Introduction to the Union course and a Delegates One training course.

Scott is in regular contact with myself and is an active and enthusiastic delegate.

Lesson 8: Empowered and informed delegates are better recruiters.

On 20 August 1999, Larissa and Scott welcomed a baby boy to the Fletcher family. His name is Jesse.


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*   Click here to send your entry

*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 39 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: Let Sleeping Dogs
Republican campaigner Jason Yat-Sen Li dusts off after Saturday’s vote. We ask him: where to now?
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*  Republic: Readers Speak - Kerry the Face to Deface
We asked and you have spoken; Sydney heiress Kerry Jones is the Workers Online choice for desktop doodling, as the official winner of our Defacement of a Nation competition.
*
*  Economics: Understanding the Economy
Who was voted thinker of the millenium in a recent BBC Online poll? Karl Marx shooed it in. And another socialist, Albert Einsten, came second.
*
*  Unions: Come Fly Away!
With just four weeks to go, Labor Council's Organiser of the year Award is up for grabs. We've only had the one entry ...
*
*  Work/Time/Life: Better Times for Casuals in the Sunshine State
The Queensland Council of Unions has mounted a case in the Queensland IRC to increase wages for casual workers by up to $2.00 extra per hour.
*
*  International: All Black Fate Looms for New Zealand Right
The New Zealand economic experiment – for many years the cherished role model of the Australian Liberal Party – is just about to face an angry jury.
*
*  History: Who Remembers Egon Erwin Kisch?
Egon Erwin Kisch was a well known progressive journalist living in Germany when he was invited by the Australian branch of the world committee against war and fascism to speak at a conference in Melbourne in 1934.
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*  Review: Bizarrism - Strange Lives, Cults, Celebrated Lunacy
The strange story of Donald Crowhurst or how to cheat and become a God.
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*  Satire: Support Surges for Armenian Republic Model
The assassination by gun crazed extremists of the Armenian Prime Minister has been cautiously backed by Ted Mack and the Direct Electionist lobby as a possible new Republican model.
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News
»  First Social Audit Win For Rural Road Workers
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»  Y2K Bug Bites Rail Bookings
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»  Strikes Hit Schools - Before and After Class
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»  Olympic Uniforms Row Patched Up
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»  Charges to be Laid Over Gretley Disaster
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»  Jockeys Bucked On Compo
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»  Wag the Dog - Bosses Try the Back Door Strip
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»  Labour and Alliance Vow to Dump Contracts Act
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»  Bank Workers Win $3000 Payment for New Years Eve
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»  Union Organiser Thrown Off Bridge
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»  Justice at Last for Waterfront Asbestos Victims
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»  Timor Update: Positions Vacant; Upcoming Events.
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Columns
»  Guest Report
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»  Sport
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Piers Watch
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Letters to the editor
»  Fall of Communism as foreseen in 1931
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»  Reith an Error of Judgment
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»  Republic Post Mortem
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»  The Boston Strangler
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»  SOS From New York
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»  [email protected] - Wasn't it Satire?
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