Unity Is Strength The Progressive PSA brings together rank and file trade union activists in the Public
Service Association of NSW and the CPSU (SPSF Branch). We work for:
  • greater job security
  • improved and more equitable pay
  • sustainable jobs in a sustainable environment
  • a democratic and strong union
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    "The job that moved and took mum with it"
    Anne Gardiner, delegate to PSA Central Council and PSA Womens Council, led a fight to gain stronger recognition of carers' responsibilities. Read more.

    "It's a public service not a public circus"
    Leon Parissi, delegate to PSA Central Council and SPSF Branch Council, led a fight against job cuts in DET and TAFE, 2003/04. Read more.

    MP linked to NSW public sector union ballot
    Crikey.com links a former PSA official, now Labor MP, to the union election campaign in 2008.
    Read more in a media report here

    PSA in uproar over funding politicans
    "Charges that the Public Service Association has improperly supported political candidates with financial donations have been raised as the union heads towards its 2008 internal elections." Read more here. Find more evidence of political donations contrary to the then PSA Rules from the NSW Election Funding Authority site: search for 'Public Service Association' here

    A news article in The Australian newspaper examines the PSA becoming a party political union under another of the controversial rule changes in "NSW Public Service Association scraps 'political' rule"

    Sydney Morning Herald covers 2004 PSA elections
    "The people who actually operate the groaning government machinery of this state are the 45,000 members of the NSW Public Service Association, most of whom would historically be supporters of the Labor Party. But some of the public's servants are revolting. Many are not happy with Labor, either the political party or the union structure, and a grassroots movement has emerged to contest Labor's virtual monopoly control of the union's affairs."
    Read more of the Paul Sheehan article here.
    Conservative attacks on the public sector come from all sides
    On 19 July 2011 an official PSA email was sent to members lauding the W.A. Liberal government decision to have “WA “WorkcChoices” dropped”. No complaints by the PSA Progressives there. After all this decision in WA somewhat weakens the conservative agenda of attacking the public sector across the country. Read more about it: here.

    But official PSA news reports rarely cover the misdeeds of ALP governments – in one instance backed by a Greens coalition partner in Tasmania. They missed reports from Tasmania and Queensland where the ALP led governments are undertaking attacks on their public sector similar to O’Farrell’s in NSW. At present these attacks are more about job cuts than removing legal rights of appeal on industrial matters as has happened in NSW. But arguably they follow a similar conservative agenda.

    Its important that the union doesn’t foster the illusion that returning Labor government’s alone will restore our rights. We need an independent industrial capacity to ensure that no party takes our support for granted. A union that relies solely on political and media strategy denies its members meaningful control over their destiny. We want members to be front and centre of any campaign to restore our rights.
    Read more Greens to back axing of public servants.
    And Queensland Premier Anna Bligh offers pay sweetener for 3000 public service job losses.

    There are some details reported about the July/August 2011 NSW redundancies in an otherwise appalling anti-public sector article NSW Public service workers paid $10,000 of your money to quit their jobs.

    Qld PS union Secretary resigns from ALP
    See the ABC video interview with PSA General Secretary, John Cahill's long time Federal union ally, Alex Scott (of the AMACSU i.e. the newly amalgamated QPSU and the ASU) here.

    The resignation of Alex Scott from the ALP makes an interesting counterpoint to the 2008 PSA rules change allowing PSA support for political candidates and parties and the continuing close relationship this union has with the ALP as evidenced by various Ministerial level keynote speakers at Women’s Conference and Annual Conference over recent years. The General Secretary, John Cahill, also has consistently written to PSA members at state election time urging them to vote for various ALP candidates such as (former) Minister for Education, Verity Firth. These same MPs were part of the ALP government which refused to come to agreement over the new salaries claim before the 2011 state election all the while having imposed a 2.5% cap on funded salary increases.

    The PSA Assistant General Secretary went in to bat for Mr Coutts - Trotter DG of DET in today's Sydney Morning Herald
    This is the very same Mr Coutts-trotter who is credited with proposing the "worse than WorkChoices" Industrial relations attack on the Public Sector being carried out by Premier Barry O'Farrell. So much for having friends in high places. Read all about it here.

    Even handed or two faced: the PSA and Federal elections
    On the PSA web site members can find the “General Secretary’s letter on industrial relations” which in essence is the PSA’s public version of its Federal election position, dated 18 August 2010. The letter is formally even handed in its analysis of the two main party positions on a number of industrial questions. Minor party positions and independents are ignored. It should be noted that even the Greens which have quite good industrial policies were ignored.

    Although there is a clear unstated preference for Labor there is no formal recommendation of which way for members to vote on 21 August 2010. Publically, at least, members are asked to make up their own minds.

    In contrast to the public position PSA members in some electorates received quite a different letter at home, at the union’s expense, strongly advocating a Labor vote. These were written without reference to the positions of political groups apart from Labor and the Coalition even when the only realistic challenge to Labor came from the Greens who had arguably a stronger industrial relations policy than the ALP.

    Without reference to the membership in 2008 the current union leadership faction changed union Rules to allow support to political parties and candidates. Since then, as previously reported by the PPSA, the union leadership has donated substantial amounts to ALP candidates. [link]

    Many union members would not be surprised in a union being closely aligned to the ALP. But many would also support the contention that any such political alignment should be on the basis of clearly stated membership support. More importantly, it should be based on the mobilisation of the membership to place demands that party in the interests of members. As it stands the union leadership is left open to accusations of supporting a particular party for their personal advancement rather than in the interests of the membership as a whole.

    See related PPSA articles on “Declaring and managing conflicts of interest” and “Conflicts of interest need to be avoided”. here (scroll down to view articles).

    MP linked to NSW public sector union ballot
    Crikey.com links a former PSA official, now Labor MP, to the union election campaign in 2008.
    Read more in a media report here

    Pay deal in the news – and in the Industrial Commission
    Whatever John Cahill and Sue Walsh say about the 2008-2011 pay deal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) they can't deny that they signed the pay deal without putting it to the membership for full examination and a vote.

    Regardless of what the MOU says or doesn't say the Department of Education and Training (DET) now wants its pound of flesh and is making a large claim against jobs and conditions in Schools, DET and TAFE to make up the unfunded 1.5%, about $127 million or 957 jobs.
    Read more in a media report here and more PPSA analysis here

    PS shortchanged on pay case
    "The recent wage increase for the NSW Public Service has been labelled a “stinker” by a reform group within the Public Service Association which planned to use the pay outcome to fuel a challenge in the union elections due for later this year." Read more here

    Indymedia on PSA undemocratic rule changes
    "The NSW Public Service Association (PSA), the union representing state public servants, has adopted eight controversial changes to its rules which will have a significant impact on the way that the union operates." Read more here

    The Australian reports on PSA rule changes

    NSW Auditor-General's Report "Relocating Agencies to Regional Areas"
    This 2005 report from the Auditor-General was the result of a concerted effort by PPSA delegates working with independents and others. Paul Petersen, PSA Vice President, explained: "In the PSA Cuts and Relocations Committee we tried to inspire the union and its leadership to put up a real fight for the rights of members when job cuts and relocations of public service agencies occurred."

    The report stated in part: The Government Asset Management Committee "did not support its advice to government with well-developed business cases assessing the viability of relocating the agency and possible new locations. When studies were undertaken, they did not comply with business case principles." Read more.

    Anne Gardiner, PSA Central Councillor, said at the time: "Clearly the real case for these relocations was to bolster the government's standing in marginal electorates".

    Sydney Morning Herald covers 2004 PSA elections
    "The people who actually operate the groaning government machinery of this state are the 45,000 members of the NSW Public Service Association, most of whom would historically be supporters of the Labor Party. But some of the public's servants are revolting. Many are not happy with Labor, either the political party or the union structure, and a grassroots movement has emerged to contest Labor's virtual monopoly control of the union's affairs."
    Read more of the Paul Sheehan article here.

    General Secretary, John Cahill, answers Paul Sheehan with the usual desperate slurs here.

    "The job that moved and took mum with it"
    Anne Gardiner, delegate to PSA Central Council and PSA Womens Council, led a fight to gain stronger recognition of carers' responsibilities. Read more.

    "It's a public service not a public circus"
    Leon Parissi, delegate to PSA Central Council and SPSF Branch Council, led a fight against job cuts in DET and TAFE, 2003/04. Read more.

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    Contact us at: ppsa@progressivepsa.org