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United magazine Summer 2016: Delivering the message on jobs

The USU's Summer 2016 edition of United has been sent to members. Check it out here.

Graeme KellyWell members, I don’t know about you but I am wondering how we got to the end of 2016 so fast!

What a year it has been! The USU has been at the forefront of many campaigns and on many counts we are winning. Throughout our journal you will read about some great results our members achieved at Qantas, Maurice Blackburn and NIB where the high YES votes on agreements show that we are delivering for our members.

It has been a huge year for our local government members – from the amalgamations in May through to the local government elections and now onto the Award 2017 negotiations, which will really kick off in earnest next year. Together with our members we have been working hard.

Due to the hard work put in by your union, job protections at amalgamated councils have given our members some security. While we still continue to fight for five year protections we know that the three year protections are working. However we need to remain vigilant. As Stephen Hughes points out on pages 8-9 it is vital that members be careful about what they sign or agree to as merged councils adopt new organisational structures.

Where Administrators have attacked jobs at councils such as Cumberland and Georges River we have responded quickly. We have also had some wins - see our story about Central Coast Council on page 26.

We have been active at all levels. During the local government elections we asked every candidate to sign our pledge committing to protecting local jobs and services. We are pleased that many who signed our pledge were elected.

USU members are at the forefront in the fight for Domestic Violence Leave, an issue that is particularly close to the USU as we were one of the first unions to achieve a Domestic Violence Leave clause in an EBA.

I come now to the fight that our members – across all industries – face in regional NSW.

Our Essential Energy members have been rocked by the news that forced redundancies can now take place and that up to 1600 regional jobs could go.

Mike Baird has already sold off Ausgrid however Essential Energy is still 100% government owned so Baird and his National Party coalition partners could save these jobs if they want to.

Our rally in Dubbo brought together workers from all sectors who are saying enough is enough. Regional NSW workers and their families matter. Check out pages 4-5 to find out more about the rally.

On a final note I would like to wish all USU members and their families a Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year. You are what makes our union great and I am proud to represent you.

Graeme Kelly
USU General Secretary