RTBU Power In Union Resolutions

National Council endorsed a series of important resolutions that will help us to keep the RTBU strong over the coming years by investing in our Workplace Delegates.

RTBU_Power_Of_Union_logo.jpgThese resolutions recognise the critical role that Workplace Delegates play in helping rank and file members, and will help Workplace Delegates to develop and improve their skills.

The Resolutions involved:

  • Developing of a National Delegates Portal on the RTBU national website;
  • Developing coordinated national Delegates training;
  • Establishing a National Delegates Conference;
  • Establishing a National Delegate of the Year Award;
  • Developing a National Growth Campaign;
  • Adopting a National Dignity and Respect Policy; and
  • Reviewing the Union’s National Financial Polices and Procedures.

National Delegates Portal

This National Council notes that an important ingredient of local power is ensuring our Workplace Delegates remain confident in undertaking key activities – including answering queries from members, participating in meetings and being involved in campaigns. 

Resourcing our Workplace Delegates and arming them with instant access to a wide range of up-to-date industrial information is an important part of this process.

To that end, National Council instructs the National Office to develop an online information portal specifically for Workplace Delegates.  The portal will be a password-protected addition to the new national RTBU website, and will include information such as:

  • The RTBU Bargaining Kit;
  • A Model Enterprise Agreement, with best practice clauses;
  • A guide to running disputes;
  • Links to the Fair Work Commission;
  • Unfair Dismissal and General Protections Handbook;
  • A forum where delegates can access advice from the RTBU National Office lawyer and/or organisers;
  • Training packages, industry policies, research and campaign materials;
  • Information about the latest issues and events;
  • Information about Delegates’ rights, entitlements, roles and responsibilities; and
  • Other ready-to-access material for Delegates as suggested by Delegates. 

The portal should also provide a forum where Delegates from geographically and diverse workplaces can engage with each other, and share information relevant to their worksites.

National Delegates Training Program 

This National Council notes the conclusions in the report by Griffith University titled Workplace Delegates and Worker Power.

Specifically, we note the report’s conclusions that ‘the most significant predictor of union power is the overall quality or usefulness of training, as rated by the delegates’.

This National Council recognises the critical importance of delegates training in making sure that our Workplace Delegates can provide the best possible support to rank and file members. 

The RTBU has a proud history of identifying, training and mentoring Workplace Delegates – and we should ensure that remains the case.

This National Council instructs the National Office to provide additional resources and assistance to Branches and Divisions to that end.

This includes dedicating financial and human resources to a wide variety of tasks relating to delegates, including the resourcing of a National Delegates Coordinator. 

An initial priority must be on ensuring training packages are current, relevant and useful in developing local power. This includes developing RTBU-specific training modules that are tailor made to the needs of Branches and Divisions.

Other tasks required will vary between Branches and Divisions, but may include:

  • Working with Branches and Divisions on training delivery, and provide Delegate training as required;
  • Develop ‘train the trainer’ materials and/or training; and
  • Support Branches and Divisions where requested in identifying, mentoring and developing new activists and Delegates – with a priority on national operators.

National Delegates Conference

This National Council notes research which suggests Delegates with strong networks, inside and outside of their workplace, are even more effective in building local power on the job.

Furthermore, local power can also be increased with more involvement and support from the Union in relation to the latest national industrial and political developments.

With employers increasingly working across State borders, it is becoming ever more important for the RTBU to coordinate activities and engagement of Delegates on a national level. 

This National Council supports measures to increase solidarity across Branches and Divisions, and to allow RTBU Workplace Delegates to share information, experiences and resources with each other nationally. 

This National Council therefore instructs the National Office to hold regular National Delegates Conferences.  The Conference agenda will cover:

  • The latest legal information about industrial relations cases and precedents;
  • Dispute resolution techniques and strategies.
  • A run through of template enterprise agreement clauses;
  • Successful campaign techniques;
  • Negotiation and bargaining skills;
  • Briefings about national employers;
  • Pooling of resources and sharing of intelligence on national operators.
  • Sharing information on industrial tactics, activist identification, recruitment, and voting for agreements.

Delegate of the Year

This National Council supports Workplace Delegates and the role they play in the Union.  Workplace Delegates are the unsung heroes of the RTBU, and their contribution deserves to be recognised.

This National Council therefore endorses the creation of a National Delegate of the Year Award.  It is proposed that the Award be named in honour of Eddie Kaiko Mabo – pending consultation with the Mabo family.  The announcement of the winner is to be made at a dinner in conjunction with the National Executive and in alternating years, the National Council.

The process for determining the RTBU Delegate of the Year will be:

  • Each Branch will identify three outstanding Delegates;
  • Profiles of the finalists will be posted on the national website;
  • Members will be invited to vote for the Delegate of the Year via the website; with the combined member vote given a weighting of 50%.  The remaining 50 of the vote will be allocated to the ACTU Secretary and President.

National Growth Campaign

This National Council notes that the political landscape continues to change for RTBU members – with ongoing concerns about negative changes to the industrial relations system.

However, this Council endorses the view that the rights won by the RTBU are not only defended through acts of Parliament or the political flavour of the month.

This National Council recognises that our Union’s strength, and it’s ability to deliver results for its members, is directly related to it’s density and activism of its members. 

This density, however, is under threat from several fronts – including the increasing use of labour hire, and the continuing political attack on the role of unions in the community.

Our Union must therefore work even harder to retain existing members and to recruit new members. 

To this end, this National Council instructs the National Office to develop a National Growth Campaign, with a focus on:

  • Converting non-financial members back into financial membership; and
  • Attracting new members, particularly in the labour hire sector. 

National Dignity and Respect Policy

This National Council recognises the importance of promoting safe, equitable and productive workplaces where the input and involvement of all employees is respected and valued.

Moreover, the RTBU believes that an important role of the union is to ensure all employers treat all workers with dignity and respect.

In that sense, this National Council believes that the RTBU must itself adopt a leadership position and develop comprehensive national policies around dignity and respect in the workplace.

The National Council therefore resolves as formal policy the tabled RTBU National Dignity and Respect Handbook and its specific requirements on:

  • Equal Opportunity
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Bullying, Stalking and Workplace Violence
  • Social Media
  • Alcohol and Illegal Substance Use

This Handbook should be distributed to all Branches and Divisions and placed on the National Office website for all members. 

Review of the National Financial Policies and Procedures

This National Council notes the work undertaken by Branches and Divisions to implement the National Financial Policies and Procedures adopted in 2013.

In line with review requirements contained within the policy, it is recommended that a minor change be undertaken to the requirement that auditors be turned over every two years.

It is noted that smaller Branches have had some difficulty procuring audit firms with more than one auditor to allow this requirement to be implemented.

The National Council therefore amends page 18 of the policy to read:

“The National / Branch Secretary will recommend a change in lead auditor every two years, where practicable, with a change in audit firm every six years in accordance with the meeting cycles of the Council and RTBU rules”.

Furthermore, this Council commends the resolution of the May 2015 National Executive instructing the National Office to develop templates to assist with the new procedural requirements contained within the Financial Policies and Procedures.

This National Council therefore adopts the templates contained within the newly tabled Financial Policies and Procedures Handbook as base standards to be applied nationally.

These templates include:

  • Allocation of Union Property forms
  • Application for Leave Forms
  • Asset Disposal Forms
  • Audit and Compliance Meeting Agenda Templates
  • Audit and Compliance Meeting Minute Templates
  • Draft Audit and Compliance Committee Terms of Reference
  • Change of Material Personal Interests Form
  • Credit Card Reconciliation Form
  • Expense Reimbursement Form
  • Purchase Order Request Form
  • Missing Document Declaration Form
  • Notification of Material Personal Interests Form
  • Preferred Supplier List Template
  • Register of Reportable Gift Template
  • Register of Assets Template
  • Weekly Timesheet Forms
  • Vehicle Accident Forms
  • Request for Tender Handbook