On the afternoon of Friday 9 August 2019 the USU received by email a copy of the LGNSW (Employer’s) Log of Claims for the 2020 State Award which needs to be negotiated, voted on and endorsed before proceeding to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission and ratified by the IRC prior to the 30th of June 2020.

If accomplished on time this will then allow for the next award pay increase to commence from the first full pay period in July 2020 and for the conditions contained within the new award to commence from 1 July 2020.

The USU has also provided LGNSW with our Log of Claims which contain 45 specific items which have been drafted into a format that could, if agreed, be placed seamlessly into the award.

All of the 45 claims from the USU have come from individual members, mass meetings, Branch meetings, State Conference or from matters that have been raised in grievances and/or disputes which we believe require change.

All of the USU’s claims seek to improve the conditions, salaries and working lives of our 30,000 members employed in NSW Councils.

The Employer’s Log of Claims does contain a few which with the correct wording may be of some benefit to workers, however the majority of their Log of Claims seeks to reduce, remove or to grandfather existing award rights.

Given that LGNSW has policies and procedures which claim to want to make NSW Local Government an Employer of Choice, to attract and retain staff, it is disappointing to again see a Log of Claims which will, if implemented, reduce workers’ conditions, income and rights which also would be detrimental especially to workers with family responsibilities.

Your Award! Your Say!WHAT’S UNDER ATTACK!
A brief summary of those issues that the Employer’s Log of Claims seek to attack.

  1. They wish to remove the On Call Allowance from Ordinary pay thereby stopping the payment from applying when staff who are required to be on an On Call Roster are on leave.
  2. They want to be able to performance assess staff annually even when the staff member has topped out in their salary progression.
  3. They want to alter how allowances are paid for Sewer Chokes, Sewerage Treatment Works and Adverse Working Conditions. This would be good if it is going to result in a better and fairer application of these allowances, however it is more likely they would seek to limit access to these allowances when you look at what they are seeking in their Log of Claims overall.
  4. They want to alter when Camping Allowance applies.
  5. They want to remove the Civil Liability Allowance from the Award and Grandfather its application to those who currently receive it.
  6. They want to remove the 35 hour week from the award and Grandfather its application to existing staff, however this would likely be forfeited if they apply for another position. When you consider that a much higher proportion of staff currently employed on a 35 hour week are women and many would be working mothers, it is clearly a reduction in flexibility that would be needed to maintain a reasonable work/life balance. We also acknowledge that this would also impact on many working fathers as well as those with carer’s responsibilities who may not be parents.
  7. They want to increase their ability to move staff onto a seven day system of ordinary hours which will further reduce workers’ rights and erode work/life balance.
  8. They want to extend the span of hours on working days that an employee can be required to work within without receiving relevant shift allowances. A further attack on work/life balance.
  9. They want to change the way that you become eligible to receive overtime payments. For example you could work your total weekly hours first before being eligible.
  10. They want to reduce the minimum payment of 4 hours if called back to work and lower it to 3 hours.
  11. They want to also reduce the minimum payment from 4 hours if required to work on a public holiday.
  12. They want to limit Union members’ ability to attend the Union Picnic Day if they join shortly before the Picnic Day.
    If the LGNSW claim seeks to remove non-members from having Picnic Day and exclude those who are shown to join their relevant Union just prior to Union Picnic Day only to resign after accessing Union Picnic Day we may be able to negotiate something.
  13. They want to undermine the current reasons that triggers the obligation of the employer to provide the 28 notice before implementing Workplace Change that impacts upon staff.
  14. They want to remove the additional entitlement of 3 month’s pay for staff who are made redundant due to the introduction of technology and to bring in a standard 5 weeks payment.
  15. They want to incorporate the State Electricians Award into the State Local Government Award. This will then introduce another Union into the equation which will complicate negotiations for the Award and future awards.

USU members should make no mistake, the USU will vigorously defend and fight for your rights and will negotiate to not just retain your hard fought rights and conditions but will work hard to improve them.

It should be noted that when we put out our previous Update on the then future upcoming State Award negotiations and pointed out that only Union Members will get a say on the award we had some in management in several Councils object and claim that non-members would get a say.

Well in looking at the Log of Claims from the Employers it doesn’t seem to include any positive improvements that a non-member might want.

In fact it does the opposite.

Your vote will count!
Make no mistake the USU as the Union with the broadest area of coverage and by far the most members, will run well in excess of 300 mass meetings at the end of negotiations to give our 30,000 members a vote.

No one will be counting the votes of non-members when it comes to the final vote.