A final word about union membership - is there no limit to what the freeloaders want?

The Local Government (State) Award requires each Council to have the consultative committee with membership representative of the workforce and with minimum representation of the three unions. There is an option to representation in addition to the union representatives to be agreed locally between the Council and our local representatives.

depa does not support creating positions on the consultative committee for freeloaders. This concept defends those principles that established a requirement for a consultative committee with this representation in the first place and does make you wonder how much people who get everything for nothing can keep wanting more.

In local government whether you join the union or not is voluntary. That's life. Unions need to make themselves relevant and attractive to members in an environment where people sitting next to you, who choose not to be union members, get access to all those things in the Award, or in legislation which the unions have pursued, without contributing to the process.

It doesn't matter what the entitlement is in the Award - everything in the award is in the Award because it was negotiated between the employers and the unions. There are the obvious things like annual pay increases, obligations for annual reviews and potential progression, all the different sorts of leave like annual, long service, sick, carers etc, higher grade pay, training, obligations on the employer in restructuring and entitlements for employees, redundancy benefits, on and on and on with every clause in the Award provides an entitlement negotiated on everyone's behalf by the unions - freeloaders and union members alike.

There are only two things where the Award distinguishes. The Award provides union picnic day to union members only - although many councils think it appropriate to let the freeloaders have that day off as well - and the only thing that freeloaders don't get is membership of the Consultative Committee.

It does seem odd, doesn't it when you think about it, that all those rugged individualists who believe they can make their own way in life at work (usually because everything they get is already established as an entitlement anyway) that they suddenly feel that it makes sense to collectivise and be a collective group of freeloaders and elect someone to sit on the consultative committee. This can only be a joke.

Leaving aside the issues of principle involved here, there are practical reasons why non-union members ought not be sitting on consultative committees purporting to represent other employees in the workforce. Members of the consultative committee have access to the unions for advice but people who aren't union members don't have this access, so what do they do? Invariably, they do what management wants.

If management wants representatives of non-union members, they can make them management representatives.

Because the Award does allow local representatives to support or reject expanding consultative committee, we regularly tell our members they should oppose it. So do the other unions. But sometimes there is a weak link in a decision to allow a freeloader representative on one Council prejudices our ability at every other council. Please don’t be that weak link.

If you would like a little bit more detail about our policy view on this, here is a letter recently sent to Kempsey where they proposed putting a freeloader representative on their Consultative Committee.

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