29/03/2020

Brief Report from MEAA

Written by Nigel Devenport

From Feb 13th to 15th, I attended the Federal Council meeting in Sydney as the WA ECS Federal Councillor.

The ECS section met as a federal group to discuss the past two years, receive a report from the federal Director, and discuss the strategic plan for the next 4 years.

Looking at our particular area, screen now has over 1000 members and has the strongest growth in the section (ECS is the best performing section of the MEAA in terms of membership growth). The section has recovered $221,051 for members over the past two years from disputes, with the MEAA recovering $1,010,560 in total.

The MPPA remains a priority but the recalcitrance of SPA constitutes a blockage. We will need to take action on a production by production basis in order to get an outcome. This will most likely be fought out in the Eastern States as our member density is increasing over there and that is where the vast majority of productions occur. In order to take “Protected Action” (stop work or other industrial action) the union must have at least a 50% membership density on a production and that is being achieved on a regular basis.

Federal Council considered the overall state of MEAA and adopted a 4 year strategic plan aimed at regaining lost ground in membership and reaffirming our role as the leading spokesgroup for arts and media freedom. We also received a very interesting report from the Musicians section which has been trialling an on line campaign among freelance musos (a notoriously hard group to organise) with singular success. While not directly applicable across all sections there are significant lessons that can be learnt and adapted by all sections. As we are looking at a complete reassessment of our IT department as part of the strategic plan this could be a good opportunity for the union to get ahead of the curve in this burgeoning area.

The meeting was positive and optimistic in its outlook. As always there is a lot of work to be done but the future holds promise.

In particular, Kelly Wood (Federal Director ECS) and I have discussed our WA situation. I suggested that PFCWA would be interested in having her attend an social event with interested members, and Kelly made plans to fly over to have some face to face meetings with interested parties. Obviously with the current climate these plans have been delayed, but we were looking into alternative meeting solutions – watch this space for updates. It will be a great chance to apprise Kelly of our unique situation and get some feedback about the national workplace.

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