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Joining a union in the APS?

By cmdwedge 30 November 2012 38

Hi all,

Sometime in the very near future, I will be joining one of the larger Federal Government departments in an EL1 role. I’ve only ever worked in the private sector, so it’s going to be a bit of a culture shock, I’m sure.

A question for those in the know – is joining a union compulsory? Is it advisable? Is it looked upon favourably when being considered for promotion, or looked down upon and a career-staller? My preference is to not join a union if I can avoid it, but I accept that it might be impossible to avoid.

Sorry for the odd questions but I don’t actually know very many public servants.

Ta! Wedge.

What’s Your opinion?


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Joining a union in the APS?
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rosscoact 2:12 pm 03 Dec 12

Padoof said :

Perhaps I’m strange…..but I joined the CPSU for the benefits, most notably that they provide insurance for your trip to and from work. This, I believe, is no longer covered under workers compensation provisions? That’s worth my $26 odd a f/n, and as already mentioned, it’s tax deductible.

That’s correct but perhaps the people here are a bit busy looking for the dark cloud rather than the silver lining

cmdwedge 10:40 am 03 Dec 12

schmeah said :

You’re joining the APS as an EL1 and you are asking whether joining a union is compulsory? Is this the level of comprehension I, and other job seekers are up against in the APS labour market!?

No, union membership in Australia is not compulsory … and the moon really isn’t made of cheese.

I’ve already responded to this point. Go have a read. It’s really easy!

PantsMan 10:20 am 03 Dec 12

milkman said :

Dazzlar said :

“Sorry for the odd questions but I don’t actually know very many public servants.”

Boy, you will soon and you will shake your head in wonder and utter things like “Never in the private sector” and “I can’t believe you can get away with that” or “In my old job he would have been sacked weeks/months/years ago”.

Enjoy the ride and try not to wonder at the amount of dollars wasted on crap!!

+10000000.

+ another 1

Forget the union, get a psychologist NOW!

PantsMan 10:18 am 03 Dec 12

Yes. Join a union.

I’ve heard they are running out of cash for hookers and kitchen renos.

Seriously, the CPSU is just a bunch of 1980s-era public service warriors who are hell-bent on getting more money for bludgers for less work. Why bother, they won’t help you if you really need them.

And the assertion that you must join a union to progress? Anti-discrimination laws should tend to prevent that.

watto23 10:16 am 03 Dec 12

vulpior said :

watto23 said :

Can I suggest if you do join to not join the CPSU, but look at APESMA or ACS instead, which is more approriate to people with IT skills. They offer the same kind of support a union does, without the hounding. Or if the CPSU person hounds you, just say you are an APESMA member 🙂 I’m still a member basically because my Gold APESMA AMEX is fee free, and a few other discounts, plus tax deductions mean the annual fee works out to be minimal.

I’m an employee of a small business rather than the APS, but I am a member of APESMA and ACS. ACS doesn’t really provide union-like services; it is a professional association/society. APESMA, however, is a non-ALP affiliated union.

My APESMA fees are much higher than my ACS fees, and I get much less out of the APESMA membership, but they did review my contract when I took this job and they would be there for advice and support if I ever needed it.

I’ve been a union member throughout almost all my working life, in the UK and here, but never a party affiliated one. For me it’s a principle and insurance. For others, doing the exact opposite may be as much a principle and a money saver.

Union and professional association fees are generally tax deductible

Thanks for clarifying. I thought ACS was similar, but its not. As I said, I use APESMA for discounts, i have used it for some work related advice and if I worked in an environment with more engineers they’d probably act like a union. But its far better than most unions I’ve seen. Its worth joining if you want to get discounts on the MBA they partner for. Then again public servant get those kind of things paid for.

Libster 9:58 am 03 Dec 12

Joining your union is always a sensible thing to do. Check out the CPSU promo video here http://www.cpsu.org.au/members/news/29533.html or Call 1300 137 636 or join online here https://web.cpsu.org.au/join

jayskette 11:50 pm 01 Dec 12

unions are only ever really good for 16 year olds first entering the big bad working world where they are very vulnerable to pay/condition injustices.

The APS has one of the most ridiculously favourable working conditions/pay combination (dare I say) in the entire world. Also, everyone in the organisation benefit from Enterprise Agreements (unless you have negotiated individual agreements with your boss) – so the answer is no.

Padoof 9:35 pm 01 Dec 12

Perhaps I’m strange…..but I joined the CPSU for the benefits, most notably that they provide insurance for your trip to and from work. This, I believe, is no longer covered under workers compensation provisions? That’s worth my $26 odd a f/n, and as already mentioned, it’s tax deductible.

schmeah 7:03 pm 01 Dec 12

You’re joining the APS as an EL1 and you are asking whether joining a union is compulsory? Is this the level of comprehension I, and other job seekers are up against in the APS labour market!?

No, union membership in Australia is not compulsory … and the moon really isn’t made of cheese.

LSWCHP 6:57 pm 01 Dec 12

rosscoact said :

If you’re a public servant and want worker’s compensation to and from work being a CPSU member is the only way you can get it.

Up to you to decide whether the union fees are worth it

My wife slipped outside her office in the rain on the way home a few years ago and injured herself severely enough that she spent several months in a wheel chair. She wasn’t a union member, so all the medical costs, which were substantial, were paid by us. For that reason, and a number of others, she’s now a member of the CPSU.

staminaman62 12:12 pm 01 Dec 12

rosscoact said :

If you’re a public servant and want worker’s compensation to and from work being a CPSU member is the only way you can get it.

Up to you to decide whether the union fees are worth it

U sure about that? I’d be very surprised.

milkman 8:38 am 01 Dec 12

Dazzlar said :

“Sorry for the odd questions but I don’t actually know very many public servants.”

Boy, you will soon and you will shake your head in wonder and utter things like “Never in the private sector” and “I can’t believe you can get away with that” or “In my old job he would have been sacked weeks/months/years ago”.

Enjoy the ride and try not to wonder at the amount of dollars wasted on crap!!

+10000000.

vulpior 6:11 am 01 Dec 12

watto23 said :

Can I suggest if you do join to not join the CPSU, but look at APESMA or ACS instead, which is more approriate to people with IT skills. They offer the same kind of support a union does, without the hounding. Or if the CPSU person hounds you, just say you are an APESMA member 🙂 I’m still a member basically because my Gold APESMA AMEX is fee free, and a few other discounts, plus tax deductions mean the annual fee works out to be minimal.

I’m an employee of a small business rather than the APS, but I am a member of APESMA and ACS. ACS doesn’t really provide union-like services; it is a professional association/society. APESMA, however, is a non-ALP affiliated union.

My APESMA fees are much higher than my ACS fees, and I get much less out of the APESMA membership, but they did review my contract when I took this job and they would be there for advice and support if I ever needed it.

I’ve been a union member throughout almost all my working life, in the UK and here, but never a party affiliated one. For me it’s a principle and insurance. For others, doing the exact opposite may be as much a principle and a money saver.

Union and professional association fees are generally tax deductible

Mr Waffle 12:56 am 01 Dec 12

Your membership fee is tax deductible, IIRC. So there’s that I suppose!

Dazzlar 10:19 pm 30 Nov 12

“Sorry for the odd questions but I don’t actually know very many public servants.”

Boy, you will soon and you will shake your head in wonder and utter things like “Never in the private sector” and “I can’t believe you can get away with that” or “In my old job he would have been sacked weeks/months/years ago”.

Enjoy the ride and try not to wonder at the amount of dollars wasted on crap!!

rosscoact 9:52 pm 30 Nov 12

If you’re a public servant and want worker’s compensation to and from work being a CPSU member is the only way you can get it.

Up to you to decide whether the union fees are worth it

miz 9:46 pm 30 Nov 12

Sorry to hear you are going to abstain. Union membership is like insurance – u hope never to need it, but it’s damned worth having. CPSU makes a significant contribution to keeping management’s hands off decent employee conditions during the EA period, and it’s very cheap (direct debit is worked out on salary – I hardly notice its deduction).
Should you experience some kind of workplace issue, CPSU can represent you. When Howard removed workers comp for the journeys to and from work for APS, CPSU put it into place for its members.
Highly recommended.

cmdwedge 9:18 pm 30 Nov 12

Pork Hunt said :

I find it surprising that a leader of lemmings at EL1 level has to ask if it’s compulsory? It’s pretty basic knowledge that it is not compulsury.

For some strange reason, I did have ‘(and I imagine that it’s not)’ in my question, but then I deleted it. No idea why. I think that I read somewhere, whilst Googling away, that unionism IS compulsory in the public service of some countries. Got confused.

To all the contributors – thanks! I’ll give joining a miss. It’s interesting, I actually thought that all unions were automatically affiliated with the ALP – I guess not!

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