On Wednesday August 28th, the Industry Unions, being the USU, depa and LGEA, as well as the Employers’ Association, LGNSW, attended the first hearing in the NSW Industrial Commission to deal with negotiations for the 2020 NSW Local Government (State) Award which is due to come into effect from the 1st July 2020, if agreement can be reached before that date and a majority of our members have endorsed it at the almost 400 mass meetings the USU will hold with our members across all of NSW Local Government in June 2020.
During the proceedings the USU and LGEA provided the IRC and other parties with their respective logs of claim. The employers (LGNSW) also provided theirs. depa will provide their log next week.
As stated in the USU’s initial 2020 Award Update dated 12th August 2019, the employers’ log of claims contains numerous items which seek to reduce or remove existing rights and conditions for NSW Council workers whose conditions are covered by the state award.
For those Local Government employees currently employed on a 35 hour week, whether Union members or not, your right to retain your 35 hour week as your standard maximum normal weekly hours, is under attack.
Please read the following extract from the employers’ log of claims, it is number 7 of 17 as listed in their log of claims:
7. Clause 18 A [Ordinary Hours] – Delete Subclause 18A (ii) of the Award so that weekly ordinary hours of work for all full time employees is thirty eight (38) per week, and grandfather the entitlement (to a 35 hour week) for existing full time employees only.
This claim seeks to increase the ordinary hours in the Award from 35 hours to 38 hours for those staff currently entitled to a 35 hour week.
While the claim seeks to ‘grandfather’ the 35 hours for existing full time employees, the grandfathering provision would be eroded over time when the positions of those existing staff are restructured, or if they apply for another position.
This claim also has the potential to reduce the hourly rate of pay for staff by 8.5% when the three additional hours are factored in without additional remuneration.
For example the current award weekly entry level for a Band 2, Level 2 employee is $1,147.10 per week, or $32.77 per hour based on a 35 hour week.
As there is no proposal by the employers in their log of claims to pay for the three additional hours to work a 38 hour week, the hourly rate will be reduced to $30.18 per hour, which is a reduction of $2.59 per hour for each hour worked in a 38 hour week.
The employer’s claim also seeks to broaden their ability to roster staff onto a seven day week Monday to Sunday roster and to increase the span of hours on which employees can be rostered to work on any day.
All employees who work a 35 hour week, or who work part time, or casual on a 35 hour week hourly rate of pay, should be alarmed.
This claim, if successful, will have a detrimental impact on employees whether they are Union members or not, regardless of gender and family or carer’s responsibilities, and seeks to undermine your work life balance.
If you oppose this claim by the employers to increase your hours of work without any additional remuneration for the additional time worked, please sign up to our petition which we will collect from all NSW Councils and which we will present to the employers and also table in the IRC in stating our vehement opposition to this claim.
If the employers want their staff to work longer hours, it should be by agreement only on a case by case basis, without duress, and always with appropriate payment for hours worked.