Union Boss goes on First Class Junket!

It’s been reported today that high-profile union boss Dean Mighell went on an $80,000 luxury junket to Britain paid for by a workers’ redundancy fund.

The Electrical Trades Union state secretary flew business class to London and stayed in the posh Royal Garden Hotel, near Kensington Palace, together with union mates and bosses linked to the fund’s board. Hotel receipts seen by the Herald Sun reveal:

More than $27,000 was splurged on accommodation.

AT least $10,000 was spent on meals, drinks, valet service, the internet, in-house movies, the mini-bar and other items.

A phone call from Mr Mighell’s hotel room was made to a transsexual escort named Suzana.

Touted as a “shemale”, Suzana says on a website: “I am a sexy and very convincing ‘TV girl’ escort. I work in central London from a nice, quiet and clean flat.”

Mr Mighell, who has criticised PM Kevin Rudd for being out of touch with workers, was happy to live it up at the redundancy fund’s expense in the 2006 jaunt.

When confronted with details of the trip yesterday, Mr Mighell admitted it was paid for by the ETU-controlled workers’ fund, called Protect.

Former ETU state council member Vanessa Garbett said no written report of the trip was provided to council.

“It’s indefensible. Why eight of them needed to go and investigate is beyond me,” she said.

“It’s all members’ money. It’s something that should have been reported in full (to state council),” she said.

Oh dear. It’s not very good is it? Mind you, at least they didn’t take the private jet, and stop off at the beach on the way back…

Posted by:Stuntreb

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53 Responses

  1. Cue – Tom of Melbourne…..

  2. Thanks Reb – I’m sure this trip involved non stop work by the ETU.

    The trans sexual probably had a wiring problem.

    I’d prefer it if these people would spend even longer out of the country, and the UK could learn a lot from our worlds best practice union rorting.

    I can imagine the union chant in business class –

    WADDA WE WANT???!!!
    AN UP GRADE TO FIRST CLASS!!!
    WENNA WE WANIT??!!!
    DURING THE SINGAPORE LEG!!!!

  3. “a wiring problem..”

    a “short circuit?”

    a “testy transformer…?”

  4. Cue … Tom of Melbourne.

    Come in, Thomas.

    … Wait, too late! Post #2.

    😉

  5. This is a shocking example of misuse of the worker’s funds by the officials!

    I also believe the use of the redundancy fund in these times is contemptible and if I was a member I would be agitating for some explanation for this dispicable action!

    I doubt anything will be done on this as the officials only seem to answer to themselves.

  6. Do the math people. $80,000 is not that much for eight people to do a business trip to the UK! Why shouldn’t they fly business class? Why shouldn’t they stay at a reasonable hotel close to London? Why is it that the Union guy gets the criticism when there were only 3 Union officials and five “others” (employer representatives) on the trip? Oh, of course, Unions BOO!

  7. Unions are becoming more like big business. Now all they have to do is go to luxury resorts to celebrate getting millions of dollars of tax payers money to bail them out of all their previous spending of millions of share owners money.

    Getting harder to tell the good guys from the bad as they’re all behaving the same.

  8. LizzyLou

    Q. How many union guys does it take to evaluate a project that never got off the ground?

    A. Eight. Apparantly. One to evaluate the project and seven to order in the trannies, fags and grog!

  9. oh, and I meant cigarettes…

  10. Here we go…Hockey trying to blame the government for the actions of the union officials!

    Jenkins is now telling him to take his seat for not following due procedure…now Albanese is getting set straight.

    ATSIC is investigating the incident…go Julia!

  11. Now Garrett is up on the whaling issue…diplomacy is the strategy.

    That’s right…many people here thinks he’s sold out…SHEESH!!!

  12. “diplomacy is the strategy”

    And why not. I mean it’s been highly effective to date hasn’t it?

    “Excuse me old chap, Genki Deska and all that. Would you mind terribly, if we asked you to kindly refrain of massacring all those minkies *cough* *cough*, of course, I mean, what I meant to say was refraining from any further “scientific research”.

    What’s that? No, not really? How about next year then? 2010? 2020?

    No probs, we’ll just work around you then.. Those sushi rolls look nice. Why thank you…Don’t mind if I do….

    EDITOR: Would you mind terribly, if I asked you to get back on topic?

  13. I did not know that whale meat was used for sushi…Garrett has been pushing for non-lethal research and there might be a reduction in the quota this summer.

  14. &^*#ing union &*$%%.

  15. “ATSIC is investigating the incident…go Julia”

    How can ATSIC investigate when they no longer exist? 🙂

    Think you meant ASIC.

    Gotta say that while I think this expenditure is OTT I do think the headline is misleading. A union boss did not have an $80,00 spluge on his own. There were 7 others on the trip. But of couse the headline 8 unionist and employer reps spluge $80,000 doesn’t have the same sort of ‘corruption’ connotations.

  16. Most probably as I’m trying to do three things at once…not a good idea.

  17. Adrain – ‘Getting harder to tell the good guys from the bad as they’re all behaving the same.’

    I don’t have any trouble at all. I’m sure these guys were drinking, staying in flash hotels, and hanging around with tranvestites only for the benefit of the loyal union members.

  18. Everyone knows that you do not call the nightworkers from your hotel room phone – you use the internet like every normal person to get gratification.

    Now – how do I log on again???

  19. Well I for one am very pleased that Suzana is very convincing and has his/her flat nice and clean.

    This Mighell is the same bloke who resigned from the Labor Party. And pardon my ignorance how can he be voted out?

  20. As have many business executives Tom.

    I don’t know how flash the hotels were. $80,000 for 8 people for the entire trip and that includes business class travel. The report says $27,000 was spent on rooms yet the newspaper article doesn’t say how many days and nights that was for.

    The executives of AIG who celebrated getting millions in US tax payer funded bailouts spent ten times that amount for one weekend.

    So do you also see the bad guys in them and thousands of other executives (US$1.27 billion is spent in executive travel and entertainment each year)?

  21. Adrian @ 20

    And the aussie dollar is so weak against the pound at the moment which also distorts the cost.

  22. I’m not in favour of junkets by union officials, politicians or business leaders. Unions officials demonstrate far more hypocrisy on junkets though as they are always highly critical of any business excesses.

    Going to London an a fact finding mission about UK bargaining and severance systems – what a huge joke for a huge junket.

    Mr Union Official in business class, passing the time of day with the hostie – “This is outrageous!!! The champagne is not vintage, it is not adequately chilled!!!!! Get me MORE!! The caviar is NOT Beluga, get me BELUGA!!!!!”

  23. The world has (and will continue to be) filled with heartless, ignorant, dumb @r$#oles with nothing better to do than take other people’s money.

    Strange that most of them are elected to thier positions of corruption…

    …and usually “…no-one can do anything a bout it…”

    …and we don’t need more regulation GMAB!

  24. 22. Tom of Melbourne | November 13, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    I’m not in favour of junkets by union officials, politicians or business leaders. Unions officials demonstrate far more hypocrisy on junkets though as they are always highly critical of any business excesses.

    Now there’s the truth of it and what really craps me off about this, the hypocrisy of the union officials and employee advocates. A great deal is being made of the $80,000 by the meeja even to the point of deliberately misrepresentation to attempt to mislead their readers, but the real crime here is the dissimulation by those involved.

    But you did yourself no favour Tom in also trying to dissimulate, though I guess you thought you were being funny:

    Mr Union Official in business class, passing the time of day with the hostie – “This is outrageous!!! The champagne is not vintage, it is not adequately chilled!!!!! Get me MORE!! The caviar is NOT Beluga, get me BELUGA!!!!!”

    Strange thing about that lame attempt at using exaggeration and innuendo disguised as comedy to put down the unions is that in all my life the only people I have ever seen behave like that have been business leaders and the wealthy.

  25. Adrian – dissimulate – that’s a good word. I’m going to use it here often, probably when referring to union tactics.

    Of course business leaders and the wealthy behave exactly in the manner you describe. It is in the hope that if they complain enough, they’ll be upgraded to first class!

    We always get vintage champagne and Beluga in first class.

  26. “I’m not in favour of junkets by union officials, politicians or business leaders. Unions officials demonstrate far more hypocrisy on junkets though as they are always highly critical of any business excesses.”Tom

    I concur Tom, not what I pay my (fairly high) union fees for.
    That is if this is proportionally excessive & not only a media beatup.
    The trannie doesn’t add to its legitimacy & Mighell has a knack for bad publicity it seems.

  27. Now that I have a little more time to think about my opinions –

    Protect is an industry based trust fund to hold employer contributions on behalf of employees. It is paid on retrenchment/termination of the employees of electrical contracting employees.

    The ETU officials are directors. They are required by law to act in the interests of the trust fund.

    They seem to have spent a whole lot of money on entertaining themselves and their UK counterparts, the question is the extent to which this expenditure was in the interests of those whose interests they are to protect.

    The lack of a written report is indicative of a junket. Spending $80,000 and neglecting to write a report to allow for an appropriate evaluation of the benefit of the trip? How are those trustees that did not attend able to evaluate whatever it was they were investigating?

    It is clearly a rort; I’d imagine that there will be more to follow.

    Grubby and unsatisfactory, but not at all surprising.

  28. 27. Tom of Melbourne

    My take too, Tom, hence (scaper, I think) the mention of ASIC , and my reference to regulations – and the policing of same…

  29. It seems that when people get into a position of having funding made available to them, they will always treat themselves well.

    Business, unions, government, it doesn’t matter, they all do it. The only people who don’t get the chance, are the bloody workers who make it all possible for them – they’ve got cameras recording their every move in case they steal a f”£$ing roll of toilet paper.

  30. #27. Tom of Melbourne | November 13, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Grubby and unsatisfactory, but not at all surprising.

    As kittylitter says as soon as officials are given other people’s money to be in charge of they abuse it. Even charities have done it and business unions.

    But what doesn’t surprise you, that people in a position to rort a system do rort it no matter who they are or is that another dig at unions? If the latter are you then implying this is common place amongst workers unions for it not to surprise you?

  31. Adrian – There are a large number of unions that maintain an ethical basis. I don’t think we would observe this behaviour in those representing nurses for example. Probably not in Lindsay Tanners old union either.

    There are others, particularly operating in the building and construction industry, that think only a mug would pass up the opportunity to get a rort. The employers are possibly equally to blame, they foster the short term expedient “just get it done” mentality, they will reach any expedient settlement, they will offer inducements. The industry is corrupted by the actions of both sides.

    Therefore the fact that a union leader that operates in this industry thinks that this rort is appropriate use of member’s funds is entirely unsurprising.

    Kittilitter – I think people respond well to trust, and overall workers produce better results is they feel trusted. The use of surveillance cameras on employees seem to undermine this,

  32. OK who was on this junkett, just union hacks, no this is who:

    The eight-strong delegation consisted of three union representatives, three employer representatives, a financial systems expert and a commercial lawyer.

  33. Also the Herald-Sun conveniently misses out this bit of information:

    The person making a fuss over this is one Vanessa Garbett who is currently taking legal action against the union and recently came out with a litany of complaints against it and its officers .

  34. Adrian

    1. All this report does is confirm that the union is a blokes club, that differentiates pay rates on the basis of gender.
    2. The so called employer association involved is just a club that promotes collusive rate setting for the industry. It is basically a branch of the union.

  35. tom @ 31
    Me too re trust and surveillance,

    I don’t think we would observe this behaviour in those representing nurses for example…

    The difference being….nursing is probably (off top of my head) about 80% female dominated and tops the morgan poll every year for being Australia’s most ethical and honest of all occupations.

  36. kittylitter – and the ethics of the union generally reflect the “most ethical and honest of all occupations”.

    It is not politically affiliated, but uses political leverage, and understandable/appropriate public alignment, to achieve its objectives. It maintains a higher sense of purpose that simple self interest.

    Other unions could learn a lot from this one.

  37. 34. Tom of Melbourne | November 14, 2008 at 9:41 am

    1. All this report does is confirm that the union is a blokes club, that differentiates pay rates on the basis of gender.

    Pull me up if I have this wrong but wasn’t she getting paid the same as two other men who happened to be indigenous, and the union management argument was that if they gave her a pay rise, especially in light of the fact she wasn’t performing, then they would have to give everyone on the same level as her a pay rise.

    The point is that she is the one who raised this junket to the Herald-Sun and it just happens she has an axe to grind. Now I wonder how genuine she would have been if the union had given her a pay rise above that of the other men? I guess she would not have mentioned the junket to anyone and this topic would not exist even though the junket still would have taken place.

  38. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but I’d suggest that the other 2 positions were government funded. This makes a big difference as to how much the positions are paid.

    Here is a union paying a 40 year old woman $20,000 less than males carrying out similar levels of responsibility. Paying an electrical qualified tradesperson that happens to be a woman less than the going rate for this type of work.

    And here you are Adrian wanting to shoot the messenger!!!

    If a union official offered you an ice cream desert at the Coogee Bay Hotel, you’d look at the positive and say “but at least they included some ice cream as well”.

  39. “I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but I’d suggest that the other 2 positions were government funded. This makes a big difference as to how much the positions are paid.”

    Does it? Why should they be paid less for doing the same job simply because the positions are government funded?

    “Here is a union paying a 40 year old woman $20,000 less than males carrying out similar levels of responsibility”

    Shouldn’t that be ‘paying less than males carrying out allegedly similar levels of responsibily while being paid the same as men carrying out the same duties and responsibilities.’

    Without knowing the differences in duties and responsibilities of the positions being referred to it is impossible to tell whether she was being paid less than males doing the same job.

    Love the way you seem so certain of your conclusion the union is guilty when you are as ignorant as the rest of us about all the facts.

    “Paying an electrical qualified tradesperson that happens to be a woman less than the going rate for this type of work’

    Nice attempt to muddy the waters. She wasn’t being paid on the basis of duties and responsibilites for the position. If she is performing the same duties and has the same responsibilites as the blokes she should be paid the same. She should not be paid the same simply because she holds the same trade qualifications as they do.

  40. Sorry,

    that should say “she WAS being paid on the basis of the duties and responsibilities of the position”

  41. Re – 39. Pollytickedoff | November 14, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Can be summarised as “try this delicious ice cream from the CBH”.

  42. “Can be summarised as “try this delicious ice cream from the CBH”.”

    Bullshit Tom.

    If she was underpaid for the same work then the union should (and will) get done for it.

    Fact is you don’t know whether she was or not but have already determined that they must be guilty. Why? Because of your pathological hatred of unions.

    As for you CBH ‘analogy’ – if you were offered icecream at the CBH you would be accusing them of doctoring the ice cream even if you hadn’t tasted it.

  43. Re – Pollytickedoff | November 14, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    So you don’t participate in the discussion about this issue until it moves away from the behaviour of union officials. You then participate in the criticism of a woman that obviously had a falling out with her union employer and lost her job!

    The fact is that the union redundancy fund was rorted by $80,000 to send the state secretary and his cohorts on a junket. You’d prefer to direct your criticism to the person that exposed this.

    This says plenty about you and your standards.

  44. “The fact is that the union redundancy fund was rorted by $80,000 to send the state secretary and his cohorts on a junket. You’d prefer to direct your criticism to the person that exposed this.”

    More misrepresentation and obfuscation from Tom, who obviously doesn’t like his partisan declaration of guilt based on insufficient information questioned.

    Please point to where I have criticised the woman making the allegations. All my criticisms have been directed at you and your jumping to conclusions based on little more than your pathological hatred of unionists rather than facts. Fact is an allegation has been made. Fact is that neither you nor I have enough information to determine whether that allegation is true or otherwise.

    My criticism has been directed at YOU for reaching a judgement based on limited facts. You have no more idea than I do whether her allegations are justified yet have already judged the union guilty. Again for Tom, who doesn’t seem to understand that 1) without knowing the relevant job requirements it is impossible to judge whether she was being paid less for the same duties and responsibilities as the industrial officers and 2) She was being paid on the basis of job duties and responsibilities, not because her trade qualifications. The fact she may hold the same trade qualifications as the industrial officers is not the basis of the claim she was underpaid. The underpayment claim is based on the fact that she supposedly did the same job and had the same responsibilities although the job was classified as an admin position.

    Sorry if my refusal to declare the union guilty based on the limited information available pisses you off but I have a habit of not declaring people innocent or guilty based on insufficient information to enable such judgement to be made. I have also nowhere stated that the allegations are untrue, only that we lack information to judge.

    As I already stated, if she was paid less for the same job that is unfair. If she was discriminated against and underpaid they will deserve any punishment they receive. I, however, have no idea whether her allegations are justified or not and have made no declarations of guilt or innocence in regards to either party..

    As for the junket, I have already stated I believed it was OTT ie excessive. A trip to look at the scheme might have been justified, however, IMO there was no need for 8 people to undertake a study trip that one person could have undertaken and reported back to the rest about.

    I will also note that you keep ignoring the fact that it was not solely union reps on this trip, but also employer reps. They also deserve to be condemned for their part in the trip (but of course Tom will continue to ignore them and focus on the unionists only because he doesn’t have the same hatred for them as he does for unions.).

    Sorry if my refusal to declare the union guilty based on the limited information available pisses you off but I have a habit of not declaring people innocent or guilty based on insufficient information. Just as I have made no judgement as to whether her allegations are justified or otherwise.

  45. blah, blah, blah…

    Try participating in a current discussion and get over the obsession of picking up at the tail, just to get the last word.

    “OTT” – wow!! incredibly harsh criticism of a union using members redundancy funds for something entirely unrelated.

  46. “blah, blah, blah…”

    Ah, yes, the best argument Tom is capable of when his lies are exposed for what they are and he is unable to provide the proof to back up his lies.

    “Try participating in a current discussion and get over the obsession of picking up at the tail, just to get the last word.”

    And , surprise, surprise, more lies from Tom. My post was not about having the last word but refusing to allow you to get away with your lies. Same as this post.

    My first post on this thread was on the day it was posted, so I have not come into the discussion at ‘the tail end’.

    If you care to post an apology for lying about the content of my previous posts, and do not try and lie about the contents of this one you are more than welcome to have the last word. Continue to lie and I will continue to point out your lies.

  47. “Why should they be paid less for doing the same job simply because the positions are government funded?”

    Government establishes protocols for payment of funds. The woman obviously considered that she was underpaid. You’re defending the position of the employer because on this occasion the employer is a union.

    The woman concerned eventually lost her job because of the falling out with her employer.

    The woman concerned was an Apprenticeship Officer, the other positions were specified as Indigenous Apprenticeship Officers, I don’t know whether this means that they are equivalent jobs or not. The other officers may have responsibility for an entirely different program.

    You are simply making the assumptions you suggest of me. This is generally regarded as hypocrisy.

    You’ll note my criticism of the employer participation, more strident than you lame comments of OTT””

    “If she was underpaid for the same work then the union should (and will) get done for it.” Really?

    The fact remains that this fund exists to provide redundancy payments for members. The union admits that they went to London to examine an annual leave scheme. Why? How is this related? Is the amount only that disclosed so far, or more?

    And finally, a post was made that questioned the motives of this woman, I responded, and you joined in. You participated, and that’s what I said.

  48. “Government establishes protocols for payment of funds. The woman obviously considered that she was underpaid. You’re defending the position of the employer because on this occasion the employer is a union.”

    No, Tom I was asking a legitimate question as to why two workers doing the same (supposedly) job as someone else should be paid less than someone else simply because the positions are government funded. Asking questions is not a defence of anything it is a request for information (unless of course your name is Tom and you have already declared guilt based on insufficient evidence and are desperately attempting to defend your ignorance based ‘ judgement ‘).

    “The woman obviously considered that she was underpaid. ”

    Have I suggested she doesn’t believe it? No, and again for Tom who seems a bit slow at grasping the fact, if she has been discriminated against and underpaid the union will deserve any penalty that is imposed upon them (and further she will be entitled to payment for amounts underpaid).

    “You’re defending the position of the employer because on this occasion the employer is a union.”

    Yet again Tom is misrepresenting and lying. I have nowhere defended the union IF they have done the wrong thing. I have (unlike you, Tom) refused to declare them guilty based on the limited information available.

    “The woman concerned was an Apprenticeship Officer, the other positions were specified as Indigenous Apprenticeship Officers, I don’t know whether this means that they are equivalent jobs or not. The other officers may have responsibility for an entirely different program.”

    Which is the point I have been trying to make all along. You (and I) have insufficient information to declare guilt or innocence. You, however appear to be quite prepared to declare them guilty while admitting you don’t have enough information to know whether her allegations are justified or not.

    “You’ll note my criticism of the employer participation, more strident than you lame comments of OTT”

    Of course your comments are more strident. But then you have a pathological hatred of unions. What more did you want me to say – that their behaviour was illegal? Well, sorry but I don’t know if it was. That it was inappropriate? Yes I believe it was inappropriate and unnecessary for that many people to participate in a “study tour” – just as many employer junkets are inappropriate and unnecessary though that is not the same as illegal.

    “a post was made that questioned the motives of this woman”:

    Yet more lies Tom. Where have I questioned her motive? The only motives I have questioned are your own in declaring guilt based on less than complete information. I have questioned whether the job she did had the same duties and responsibilities as those which she claims are equivalent.

    She believes she was underpaid but that does not mean her interpretation of duties and responsibilities of the various positions are correct. I don’t know because I don’t know the different jobs entail, her interpretation of them OR the actual duties and responsibilities she performed (and neither do you).

    When you stop lying and misrepresenting, Tom, I will stop responding to your lies and misrepresentations. The only person displaying hypocrisy is yourself when you admit you don’t have enough information yet have already declared the union guilty.

  49. “why two workers doing the same (supposedly) job…”
    I pointed out the likely difference. Entirely different programs, different objectives, different responsibilities etc, etc. You simply carp on in mindless opposition.
    “misrepresenting and lying”
    Untrue, you continually ignore/selectively use other comments – pot, kettle introduction here.
    “Of course your comments are more strident.”
    I was pointing to my criticism of the employer organisation, yet again you miss the point either deliberately or through ignorance.
    “ “a post was made that questioned the motives of this woman” Yet more lies Tom. Where have I questioned her motive?”
    I specifically said I responded to another post questioning her motives, you came in, you participated.

    You still fail to respond, this – there is a fund to hold the redundancy pay of workers, a group of union officials and employers went to London to look at an annual leave system. They had a few big nights in the hotel room of the union secretary, they spent money to entertain some local union people, ring up a transvestite…

    AND they used the money that belonged to the redundancy fund. You seem to miss this point – “OTT”, what a joke.

  50. Tom,

    I count at least 10 regular posters who you refer to as “lefties” that condemned in comments the spending of the money for the junket.

    So – who has missed the point?

  51. Count me in as one who thinks junkets are a disgrace by either unions or employers.

    As for spending money from a redundancy fund that makes it all the worse. While defending unions I also expect them to at least have morals and ethics above and beyond big business ( whihc has lost many of theirs over the last 20 years). This is a blight on union reputation at a time when many consider them irrelevant.

    Tom you and I disgaree many times however I side with you on the matter of this being a disgrace. I just wish you would also change sides when things are morally wrong from the business world. It doesn’t matter whether it is legal or not I would still rather you base your decisions and opinions on the morals you hold rather than the legal system and its many loopholes for companies and their shareholders.

  52. Hi Tom,

    Can we now expect your full condemnation of George Brandis – the Liberal senator for spending over $230000 of our money in the last six months of 2007?

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24676755-12377,00.html

    Especially knowing that it was just before an election!

  53. Of course I’m more than happy to condemn him. Chief snout in the biggest trough. Though I’m sure we’re all relieved to learn that the travel was “approved”. That always makes it ethical.

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