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It's time to unite - one Communications Union state Branch for NSW/ACT and Victoria

To guarantee the best possible future for members of the CEPU Communication Division (CWU), it’s time to unify in to one Branch in NSW/ACT and Victoria respectively.

Members may or may not be aware that your Union’s Communications Division structure today is the product of the amalgamation of, largely, two predecessor Unions — the Australian Postal and Telecommunications Union (APTU) and the Australian Telecommunications Employees Association/Australian Telephone & Phonogram Officers Association (ATEA/ATPOA).

These two Unions were the result of many amalgamations dating all the way back to 1917 and had different historical and traditional coverage rules for different employee categories across the entire Post Master General’s Department — who undertook the work of the day’s equivalent of Australia Post, NBN Co and Telstra.

The most distinguishing factors being postal operational, clerical and telephone lines workers — traditionally covered by the APTU and technical and operator workers — traditionally covered by the ATEA/ATPOA.

Members in NSW and Victoria would be likely aware that two autonomous Branches still operate in those states — the Postal & Telecommunications (P&T) Branches (the remnants of the APTU state Branches) and the Telecommunications and Services (T&S) Branches (the remnants of the ATEA/ATPOA state Branches).

History is history, and many members and officials who were members of this Union prior to the CEPU amalgamation of 1994 would be proud of both predecessor Unions’ histories.

We can all be proud of our history, our heritage and our traditional work.

But the fact is; the CEPU, as an amalgamated Union, has joint coverage over all occupational areas traditionally belonging to the APTU and ATEA/ATPOA. Additionally, most of those traditional occupational areas no longer even exist. There is no logical sense in continuing operating in this manner.

The structure produces nothing but a duplication of administration costs and overheads, resulting in a waste of Branch resources and members’ funds — and we’re at a point where the ongoing financial viability of the two Telecommunications & Services Branches is of serious concern and must be addressed.

To ensure that members continue to receive the best possible service from their Union, it’s time we came together as one. This has already occurred in Western Australia, South Australia / Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania — resulting in significant cost benefits and maximising those Branches’ resources to deliver a better service to members.

It is for all these reasons that your Union’s Communications Divisional (National) Executive this week took the historic step to of passing a resolution to actively encourage a merger of Branches in those states — directing those Branches, along with your National Officials, to enter into urgent discussions with a view to mergers in the near future.

The resolution adopted at the Executive meeting is reproduced for members’ information below:

 “Divisional Executive notes the 2016 full and concise financial statements of the Victorian Telecommunications and Services Branch (Branch) tabled at this meeting.  Divisional Executive notes, in particular, the notation by the Branch’s auditors contained in the financial statements as to the Branch being a going concern and the fact that the Branch has reported a nett current asset deficiency of $293,173.00.

It is clear to the Divisional Executive that the ongoing viability of the Branch including its ability to service its members is seriously at risk.

It is the view of the Divisional Executive that it is appropriate for urgent discussions to take place concerning the merger of the Branch with the Victorian Postal and Telecommunications Branch.  Further, with a view to completing the merger process previously undertaken in Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, merger discussions should also take place between the New South Wales Telecommunications and Services Branch and the New South Wales Postal and Telecommunications Branch.

It is accordingly resolved that urgent merger discussions occur between the four branches concerned and the Divisional Secretary and/or the Divisional President.  The parties are directed to report back to the Divisional Executive by the end of November to the outcome of those discussions.”

The motion was moved by Divisional Secretary Greg Rayner and seconded by Divisional Vice-President Bernie Clarke.

 The motion was adopted with votes cast by Divisional Executive members, representing their respective Branches, in the following manner:


We look forward to reporting to members the outcomes of these discussions with a view to announcing a merger of the respective Branches in the near future.


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