The best way to serve the community is to ensure that Councils provide local employment for local services with workers engaged on fair rates of pay.
USU members should be aware that the negotiations for the 2017 NSW Local Government Award have commenced. As part of the process the Unions have exchanged their respective logs of claim with the Employers’ representative (LGNSW).
The USU is very concerned with much of the content of the Employers’ log and will be putting out regular updates to explain to USU members some of the more sinister claims within the Employers’ initial log of claims.
Councils are often the largest local employer in many communities. The USU has been very responsible in its wage claims over the years in delivering affordable increases which over the years have not outpaced rate pegging increases. We have managed to deliver reasonable wage increases while ensuring job security for our members who provide “front-line” quality services to their communities. Workers should not suffer due to poor decision making at the management and elected level at Council.
In our opinion the problem isn’t Councils being unable to afford to pay their staff fair award wage increases, the problem is that some Councils are allegedly spending large amounts of money unnecessarily.
For example, in recent years Councils have allegedly spent:
- Liverpool City Council $167,218.00 in Legal Fees trying to strip employment conditions and sack or discipline workers.
- Kempsey Shire Council at least $2,231,243.00 on external contractors to undertake construction and civil works.
This is money that could have been used to add staff to libraries, employ more high quality child care professionals at day care centres, and directly employ and utilise experienced workers to undertake maintenance and construction work without outsourcing work to contractors making large profits from ratepayers.
Local Government is about serving the community, and the best way to serve the community is to ensure that Councils provide local employment for local services with workers engaged on fair rates of pay.
Keep an eye out for further Local Government (State) Award Negotiation updates, and in the meantime speak to your fellow workers and ask if they want to have a say on the future of the Award by voting when the time comes, as only Union members will be voting and have a say when the vote comes in 2017 at the over 300 mass meetings that the USU will hold in councils across the state.