Unions Sign Off On $4m Campaign Fund

Unions will, as expected, kick $2 per member into an ACTU campaign war chest each year until 2015 as they step up the fight against the Federal Coalition, conservative state governments and "hostile employers".

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The ACTU executive is meeting today for the first time since the union movement's Congress in May, with Dave Oliver assuming the secretary's chair. It is working its way through a busy agenda in Melbourne, ticking off the new $4m campaign fund, hearing a report from the Madgwick panel on union accountability and endorsing a push for new joint employment laws to protect outsourced workers. 

The May Congress endorsed the establishment of "a permanent ACTU campaign fund to support movement wide community campaigning and related activities" and authorised Oliver to consult with affiliates on its details. 

Executive this morning backed the plan for a $2 per member levy, with the first instalment due on September 28 this year, and then from July 1 each year until 2015. The fund will be overseen by executive and the ACTU's growth and campaign committee, made up of a dozen or so of the largest unions. 

The meeting listed as current threats "hostile" employers resorting to lockouts and litigation, employer submissions to the Fair Work Act review and the FWA modern awards review, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's recent comments on flexibility and penalty rates, state government attacks on public sector workers and evidence from the Howe Inquiry report on insecure work.