The USU welcomes our newest members from Norfolk Island.
Over the past few years the island has undergone some immense changes in administration. As a consequence the workers at Norfolk Island Regional Council are now under the NSW Local Government system.
When the members came to negotiate their new EA they contacted the USU for help. The Council workers of Norfolk expressed to us how voiceless they felt in these negotiations. Knowing the unique circumstances for the members there, the USU sent two officials to the Island to represent the members and explain the benefits of being USU! Being there was really about giving the workers a platform to be heard and a reminder that they had a say in their wages and working conditions.
"This is ground-breaking for the United Services Union," said USU General Secretary Graeme Kelly. "The workers there have had some major changes to their administration and I was proud that we could be on hand to send help when it was needed."
The union and our latest members understand that organising members and undergoing negotiations on Norfolk Island are somewhat unique as the map below shows, however already there is a fantastic group of strong delegates and activists ready to ensure all the members get a fair go.
The island has a very tight-knit community. The local radio station helped spread the word about our mass meetings. I am really excited about the negotiations ahead with such a great team.
For those members who are unfamiliar with our newest members and where they come from here is what Google says about the island:
"Norfolk Island, a tiny Australian island in the South Pacific Ocean, is defined by pine trees and jagged cliffs. Sandy beaches include Emily Bay, with reef-protected waters. Norfolk Island National Park offers views over palm forests from Mt. Pitt. In the capital Kingston, the Norfolk Island Museum traces the island's colourful past. The Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area has a ruined British penal colony."
At the USU we know the Island is much more than that. Apart from being a place of great beauty, unique history and perfect weather it is a place where the feeling of community is strong – and that strong community feeling is what has helped make our newest members stand together for a fair go at work.