|Issue No 60||30 June 2000|
Delegate Rights Up in 48 Hours
By Andrew Casey
The Millennium Hotel, in Sydney's Kings Cross, has accepted a Hotel Union claim for the new ACTU Delegates Charter to be incorporated into their enterprise agreement within days of its adoption.
The ACTU Delegates Charter was the first policy item discussed and adopted at this week's four-day ACTU Congress in Wollongong.
The Charter sets out the basic rights and essential elements needed if a local delegate is to operate effectively in organised workplaces
" Our union is committed to winning delegates rights in all our workplaces because we see it as the essential building block of organising and growing the union," Troy Burton, the Hotel Union Organiser at the site said.
The ACTU Charter was adopted on Monday at Congress and was agreed to on Wednesday at the Millennium Hotel.
ACTU President, Sharan Burrow, announced the Hotel dealt as the first success of the new Delegates Charter at the Congress venue - to a round of whoopees and widespread applause.
Troy Burton admits he was surprised, how easily and quickly management at the Millennium accepted the Delegates Charter.
" Our strategy is to expand this Charter to protect all our Hotel delegates. We see this as an important issue in the lead up to the Olympics so that our delegates now they have clear rights and responsibilities, accepted by all sides.
" The Olympics will be a hectic time. There is a potential for turmoil. We want to protect our members. We want to protect our delegates."
The key Sydney hotels which will be targeted to adopt the Delegates Charter are: the Sheraton, Westin, Accor Hotels, Regent, Intercontinental and the Wentworth.
The Hotel Union - the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union ( LHMU) - held a large rank-and-file delegates conference in Adelaide earlier this year to debate, discuss and adopt a draft Delegates Charter.
The 12 point ACTU Delegates Charter says union delegates should be treated fairly, recognised as members' representatives, given reasonable time off for trade union education, have the right to address new employees and have reasonable access to email, internet, phone, fax and photocopying in the workplace.
Quite independently the LHMU in South Australia has developed its own Charter of Delegates Rights and Responsibilities through an extensive process of surveying the needs of delegates and bringing 250 delegates together to discuss the results of the survey - and how it can be best implemented.
The ACTU Delegates Charter wants to protect all delegates, as they are the union movement's frontline key organisers, by getting the Charter adopted into agreements at all workplaces.
Union delegates shall have:
i. The right to be treated fairly and to perform their role as union delegate without any discrimination in their employment;
ii. the right to formal recognition by the employer that endorsed union delegates speak on behalf of union members in the workplace;
iii. the right to bargain collectively on behalf of those they represent;
iv. the right to consultation, and access to reasonable information about the workplace and the business;
v. the right to paid time to represent the interests of members to the employer and industrial tribunals;
vi. the right to reasonable paid time during normal working hours to consult with union members;
vii. the right to reasonable paid time off to participate in the operation of the union;
viii. the right to reasonable paid time off to attend accredited union education;
ix. the right to address new employees about the benefits of union membership at the time that they enter employment;
x. the right to reasonable access to telephone, facsimile, photocopying, internet and e-mail facilities for the purpose of carrying out work as a delegate and consulting with workplace colleagues and the union;
xi. the right to place union information on a notice board in a prominent location in the workplace;
xii. the right to take reasonable leave to work with the union.
These rights are basic and fair. Union delegates are entitled to know their role is recognised and respected. Unions will campaign to build these rights over time into workplaces across the country.
Interview: Turning Tides
ACTU President Sharan Burrow reflects on the disappearance of the middle class and what the union movement can do about it
Unions: Fear and Loathing in Wollongong
For four days this week, too much unionism was barely enough. We bring you the highs and lows from behind the scenes and inside the bars of this week’s ACTU Congress.
Politics: The Group Hug
Opposition leader Kim Beazley came, saw and conga-ed. Here's what he said to the ACTU Congress.
History: Unions and Family Trees
Trade union records may not be the first port of call for a beginning family historian, but down the track a little, these records could bring to life an ancestor who previously was just a name printed on the page.
International: Fiji Bans Lifted
Fiji employers are expected to start reinstating all their workers over the next week, now that Australian union bans have been lifted at the request of the local union leadership.
Review: Room to Manoeuvre
Full employment with a highly skilled well-paid workforce is a realistic goal for Australia, despite the supposed constraints of globalisation.
Satire: Satan Subpoenaed To Cricket Inquiry
The King Commission of Inquiry into cricket match-fixing yesterday heard evidence from Satan that he never influenced Hansie Cronje to accept bribes.
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