CPSU: Your Union

An explanation of the structure of the CPSU, it's branches and elected officials.

The CPSU, The Community and Public Sector Union, is a product of the amalgamation of the State Public Services Federation, the largest union covering state government employees in Australia, and the Public Sector Union, the former union for federal government employees.

The CPSU is a registered organisation under the Commonwealth Workplace Relations Act, and as such its rules and its activities are subject to that legislation.

The union is divided into two groups:

At this stage of the amalgamation process the two groups still operate in effect as separate organisations, each having its own office bearers, office facilities and employees, and offering separate services to the respective memberships.

The SPSF Group is divided into State Branches, each Branch having wide representation rights in respect to state government employees and also in relation to workers in the Higher Education and Health sectors.


Victorian Trades Hall Council

The VTHC is the peak body of the trade union movement in Victoria and is the Victorian branch of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). The majority of unions in Victoria including the CPSU/SPSF are affiliates of the Victorian Trades Hall Council which is able to collectively represent the interests of our members and other Victorian union members to State and Federal Governments and the ACTU.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions

The ACTU (Australian Council of Trade Unions) is the peak Trade Union organisation in Australia and was established in 1927. It has the task of achieving the organisation of workers, consolidation of the Australian Labour Movement and the central control of disputes.

The majority of Australian unions are affiliated to the ACTU which represents a combined membership of over 2 million workers.

The ACTU acts as a national co-ordinator of union activities. Its policies are determined at its conference held every two years and attended by delegates from State Branches, provincial Trades and Labor Councils and affiliated unions.

CPSU's Governing Bodies

Federal Council

The Federal Council is the supreme governing body of the CPSU/SPSF Group. It is made up of the Federal Officers and Federal Councillors from each State Branch.

The Victorian Branch is entitled to five Federal Council representatives, who are elected by and from the Victorian Branch Council.

Federal Officers

The Federal Officers are the Federal President, five Vice-Presidents, and the Federal Secretary. The Federal Officers make up the Federal Executive.

Branch Officers

The Victorian Branch Officers are the Branch President, the Vice President, the Branch Secretary, the Assistant Secretary and the Victorian Country Representative.

The Branch Officers are elected by the entire Branch membership, with the exception of the Victorian Country Representative who is elected by non-metropolitan members. The term of office of the Branch Officers is four years.

Branch Council

The Victorian Branch Council is made up of the Branch Officers and Branch Councillors elected for a four year term from each of the eleven Branch Electorates. The number of Branch Councillors from each electorate will vary according to the size of the electorate.

The Branch Council is subject to the lawful direction of the Federal Council and Federal Executive and manages the business and affairs of the Victorian Branch.

Branch Executive

The Victorian Branch Executive is made up of the Branch Officers and between meetings of Branch Council is responsible for the management of the Branch.

Standing Committees

The Branch Council may establish Standing Committees on any basis where a need is identified to provide a forum for special interest groups within the membership.

Union Issues

Employment Conditions

Recent years have seen a dramatic change in the framework under which conditions of employment of CPSU, SPSF members in Victorian have been regulated.

The historic decision of the High Court which found that an "industrial dispute" existed between the CPSU and the Victorian Government and the subsequent Industrial Relations Commission decision which brought CPSU members under a federal award for the first time, coupled with the Workplace Relations Act changes mean that we are now operating in a totally new industrial environment.

Awards and Agreements

Most CPSU,SPSF members in Victoria are now covered by a Federal Award. In many cases the Award will operate in conjunction with a Certified Agreement, established under the Commonwealth Workplace Relations Act.

The Award covering the majority of members is the Public Service (Non Executive Staff - Victoria) Interim Award 1996 with Awards also covering members in the Higher Education and Health areas as well as Government Authorities and Agencies.

In all, over 20 Awards regulate the wages and conditions of employment of CPSU members in Victoria.