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CPSU assimilated into the Borg

By johnboy - 28 March 2009 15

The ABC brings word that the CPSU is now part of the ACT branch of the Labor party.

It might well help protect jobs over the next few budgetary cycles, and lets face it, a future Liberal Government will hate anything with “union” in its name just as much as anything with “ALP” around it.

Of more interest is the effect of all these new members in the local Labor party on pre-selections for the next electoral cycle.

There’s talk that measures have been taken to prevent major ructions occurring. But in what sort of democratic process can you take on thousands of new members and be positive nothing will change?

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
CPSU assimilated into the Borg
pelican 12:27 pm 29 Mar 09

A while back I had a difficult issue at work and was told by the CPSU they were too busy fighting Work Choices and they did not think they could win my case if it went to court. There was some complicated legal jargon in the agreement that was at issue. The union reps were very caring and supportive in other ways – it was an emotional time, but no real effort was put into a proper investigation. I suspect like most agencies and NGOs they are probably short staffed to boot.

Don’t get me wrong Work Choices had to go but unions are also respsonsible for the day to day bread and butter issues as well as the big picture issues.

Well in the end, the Workplace Ombudsman, after a review of the case, issued the high profile Commonwealth department with a Letter of Caution – many months too late to be of any good but at least some semblance of justice was achieved. The review came about after obtaining documents under FOI when it came to light the department’s response to the Ombudsman was blatantly misleading and the information provided was false.

I figured the union must have been given the same false information and that is when they washed their hands of it instead of running a proper investigation. In essence, the department got away with this and other breaches, a Letter of Caution is a bit like a limp slap on the wrist but better than nothing.

The current cuts to the public service are being done under a Labor Government for the sake of political mileage and yet the same government wants public servants to provide the same level of service. The problem with efficiency dividends and razor gangs is that governments leave it up to senior management to decide where cuts are made and it is never among the SES or middle/senior managment team despite statistics showing that the number of senior positions has risen dramatically over the years at the loss of those who really work at the coalface. That is those that peform the actual service delivery.

In fact, it is during these times that more senior managers are often employed to deal with ‘change management’. Quite ironic.

I guess if affiliation means a place at the conference table to support fair and equitable IR legislation it might be a good thing, but what about when there is a Liberal governmet in power? Affiliation with Labor may actually work against any meaningful negotiations with a Coalition government.

disenfranchised 5:31 am 29 Mar 09

The CPSU remains irrelevant as an industrial organisation. Some of us go back to the ACOA days. This white collar union is next to useless as middle class public servants particularly in Canberra show absolutely no solidarity. As a former organiser I well remember the huge number of colleagues who would cross their own picket line. Industrial action was pointless. Reflect on this: wages and conditions were never better than under Howard. Under Gillard and co, AWAs are ending. But we are being told we are better off (in my agency all EL2 and EL1s will now get the Certified agreement, ie they take a cut). Those extra amounts under AWAs were rolled into super. That will now end. Remember it was Labor that changed the CSS (around 1990) with the help of a compliant CPSU. Watch the number of jobs to go under Tanner. At least Howard and co used a VR process. There was a stampede in my place to get one circa 1996-97. At the time Bob McMullan incorrectly (deliberately) called these sackings. Nonsense and more Labor Party drivel. I well recall that during the 1980s (Hawke years) as public servants our real wages fell. Labor is no friend of the public service.

hoolahawk 1:00 am 29 Mar 09

Isn’t this a conflict of interest or something (surely?). I have just been looking at joining up with the union…but now I will have to think it through again first.

Gungahlin Al 11:16 pm 28 Mar 09

Here’s the problem: everyone who’s cheesed off about this will simply chuck in their membership (myself included).

Leaving the fools who made this decision in their positions with an actually strengthened support base. Enjoy captaining your sinking ship Nadine Flood and co.

Tempestas 10:49 pm 28 Mar 09

redrioter said :

vg said :

They were the 3 or 4 thousand members of the other union that agreed to the CA that was held up buy the 100 or so represented by the obstructionist and less than truthful CPSU.

Liars and ass clowns

It’s not the CPSU’s job to follow what AFPA members want. It’s their job to look after the interests of THEIR members. If that means holding it up because their members don’t want to support then so be it. I’d be pretty pissed off if my union just agreed to a CA just because the other union involved in CA had more members and they agreed to it.

What another case of the AFPA not playing well with the other unions. No surprises there.
Perhaps vg would care to justify the AFPA “practice” of poaching other unions members and how that helps everyone get better outcomes.

On topic. Its not the end of the world. I think this is probably the last time it will rate mentioning.

“Union seeks to represent its members by affiliating with organisation that can have material impact on its members” Not exactly the most headline grabbing stuff.

redrioter 8:55 pm 28 Mar 09

vg said :

They were the 3 or 4 thousand members of the other union that agreed to the CA that was held up buy the 100 or so represented by the obstructionist and less than truthful CPSU.

Liars and ass clowns

It’s not the CPSU’s job to follow what AFPA members want. It’s their job to look after the interests of THEIR members. If that means holding it up because their members don’t want to support then so be it. I’d be pretty pissed off if my union just agreed to a CA just because the other union involved in CA had more members and they agreed to it.

redrioter 8:50 pm 28 Mar 09

I never said it won’t affect the members overall. It is naive to say that nothing will change but I was merely pointing out that those members who have a problem with their membership dues going to affiliation can opt out.

At the end of the day, the purpose seems to be to exert influence to get the best industrial outcomes for public servants. Not being affiliated didn’t really do much at all during the Howard Government when AWAs were introduced, jobs slashed etc. Its not in their interest to do things that won’t win them new members. It isn’t like they came up with this idea overnight. There was a long period of discussion and consultation. If you actually talk to the CPSU about it they’ll explain the rationale behind it.

I don’t see it as a conflict of interest problem and there are numerous overseas examples of affiliated unions in the government sector. Case in point is UNISON, the UK public sector union which is affiliated to the British Labour Party. Yes public servants need to be apolitical in their work but that doesn’t mean that they can’t have a politically active representative voice that is aligned to a party. If people don’t like it they can always run against the current leadership at the next election.

pelican 6:35 pm 28 Mar 09

Trouble is redrioter is that it does affect the members overall even if the odd one or two tick the non-affilliation box. To say that it doesn’t is to oversimplify the situation.

The CPSU are generally a good bunch but this move will not help them win new members. Political affiliation puts any union in a conflict of interest particularly in the government sector where they may have to go up against the incumbent government – much harder if you are affiliated.

vg 5:54 pm 28 Mar 09

They were the 3 or 4 thousand members of the other union that agreed to the CA that was held up buy the 100 or so represented by the obstructionist and less than truthful CPSU.

Liars and ass clowns

redrioter 5:32 pm 28 Mar 09

If there are 3 or 4 thousand members who think it’s a bad thing then they can ensure their membership does not count towards affiliation. It’s as simple as that.

vg 4:10 pm 28 Mar 09

“CPSU affiliation is a good thing”

I can find you about 3 or 4000 people right now that would disagree

redrioter 3:39 pm 28 Mar 09

You should probably understand what you’re talking such as how the ACT ALP branch works before speculating about pre-selections.

Firstly, the ACT branch operates differently to other branches such as the NSW where candidates are often imposed. In the ACT, all pre-selections are rank and file. The Administrative Committee has barely any power to impose anything. The CPSU even sent around a Memorandum of Understanding to other groups in the party to say that won’t challenge any of the sitting members and they won’t change the rules (how can they change those rules when they’ll have like 10% of the vote). If they went against what they said in the MoU, they’d be considering untrustworthy rats and no one would ever deal with them again.

Affiliation doesn’t mean that 9000 members of the CPSU become party members. If affiliation meant that all union members would suddenly become ALP members then the ALP would have hundreds of thousands of members considering all the unions in the country that are affiliated to the ALP. Affiliation means that the CPSU will have delegates at conference to shape policy in party forums in an official capacity. Because of the cap they’ll have roughly the same influence as the SDA.

CPSU affiliation is a good thing and if people don’t want to be associated with the ALP at any level they can actually tick a box or call the CPSU and say they don’t want to be counted for affiliation.

Having a formal relationship with the ALP means that things on the CPSU agenda such as legislation protecting whistleblowers will get up. I don’t think being unaffiliated helped the CPSU when Howard got into power considering they targeted union delegates and essentially forced people to hide their union affiliation.

The fact is that no one outside the ALP really cares that much about affiliation except for a small fringe group of people, generally Greens and Trots. Most people have better things to do and it won’t affect them in a negative manner.

vg 12:01 pm 28 Mar 09

Ask the CPSU what a sterling job they did in the AFP’s CA negotiation back in 2006 or so. If lying and upholding the wishes of a majority of people affected by the CA is a good job.

Ass clowns of the highest order

Steady Eddie 11:38 am 28 Mar 09

QUOTE: But in what sort of democratic process can you take on thousands of new members and be positive nothing will change? UNQUOTE

Easy. In an organisation which says that you must vote the way the party bosses dictate or else be expelled and lose your pre-selection.

pelican 10:23 am 28 Mar 09

Bad move CPSU. How can a union hope to represent it’s members as first priority when it is so closely aligned with a major party.

Time to cut the ties with the ALP and stop the draining of millions of dollars of members money to more worthy causes than political donations.

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