USU Members will have the opportunity to vote on a new Enterprise Agreement that guarantees wage increases for City of Newcastle employees over the next three years and provides improved terms and conditions of employment and job security. The Union is pleased with the final document, which is seen as a success following several months of intense negotiations with Council. Your USU representatives have continually met with Council as your collective voice and on Thursday 11th of October an “in principle / draft Document” was agreed to be distributed for final consultation.

Mass meetings will be held for USU Members over the coming fortnight. This will be an opportunity for members to be informed, and to discuss the proposed changes to your agreement. USU members are not required to participate in any other vote except directly with the USU.

Thursday 25th October – No.1 Sportsground from 11:00am
Thursday 25th October – Newcastle Town Hall (Banquet Room) from 2:00pm

The USU confirms these are also paid meetings.

Any USU members who cannot attend one of these meetings can download the voting form HERE and provide to your local USU delegate or scan / email to

Remember, due to the collective strength of the USU membership at City of Newcastle, a vote of the USU membership will direct the status, endorsement and approval of this, and any other new agreements.

Main Features:

The proposed Agreement contains the following new or enhanced features:

A three year term commencing from the proposed ratification of 1st January 2019.

Pay / Allowance Increases

  • Three guaranteed wage increases during the life of the Agreement:
  • 2.5% increase with a minimum payment of $22.30 per week from 1st July 2019,
  • An increase to be confirmed which will be negotiated with the collective strength of the State wide USU membership to be applied from 1 July 2020,
  • An increase to be confirmed which will be negotiated with the collective strength of the State wide USU membership to be applied from 1 July 2021,
  • All current Allowances increased, with further increases in July 2019, July 2020 and July 2021;

Salary System

  • Guaranteed commitment for a total review of the current salary system and all allowances, to be commenced within two months of ratification of the Enterprise Agreement.
  • Agreement to introduce a formalised personal development plan

Workplace Flexibility – Hours of Work

  • Introduction and an important shift with the onus now on Council to support flexible working arrangements. These arrangements can be resolved on either a team based or individual basis. This includes the formal introduction of the following:
    • 9 Day Fortnight
    • Flexi Time Arrangements (over a 4 week cycle)
    • Flexibility agreements for family / caring responsibilities
    • Extended Carers Leave
    • Grandparent leave
    • Working 4 out of 5 years
    • Phased Retirement

Job Security

  • Intention and Commitment by the City of Newcastle to maintain core employment numbers of 957 (EFT) – New inclusion
  • Increased security of employment provisions
  • Improved workplace change and consultation provisions for USU members, which now include a 28 day consultation period prior to any changes being implemented, and commitments to early consultation with USU representatives prior to a “definite decision”
  • Improved redeployment process from a 12 month program, with an unlimited timeframe and targeted redeployment sub-committee to be formed (including USU representation) to improve redeployment outcomes.

Family and Domestic Violence Leave

  • In conjunction with the USU’s ongoing “We Won’t Wait Campaign”, we are proud to resolve special paid leave (10 days per annum) Family and Domestic Violence Leave for victims and their families. In conjunction with these paid leave options, other supportive provisions have been resolved to assist victims and their families.

Half Day before Christmas (Lord Mayor’s Grant)

  • Formalised entitlement in the Enterprise Agreement following the USU’s win to preserve and protect this entitlement in the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission in 2013

Higher Duties Payment

  • Previous “timeframes” have been removed and higher duties payment will be made for the actual time relieving in the higher paid position.  All paid leave and Agreement holidays are then paid at the higher grade of pay whilst relieving.

Personal Leave (Sick and Carers Leave)

  • Removal of the need to provide medical certificates and/or other certification for absences for sick and/or carers leave.
  • Extension of wellbeing programs, including paid leave access for health and wellbeing activities.

Annual Leave

  • Formalised purchased annual leave arrangements have been resolved and included

Flexibility for Work and Family Responsibilities

  • As outlined above, includes important shift with the onus on Council to support flexible working arrangements

Term Contracts / Labour Hire

  • Inclusion of an updated State Award clause defining specific conditions for the use of term contracts and the use of Labour Hire. These include the protection that these arrangements cannot replace a permanent employee of Council. Further improvements to ensure continual monitoring of these arrangements to be provided to USU representatives.

Learning and Development

  • Strong emphasis on improved Learning and Career Development opportunities, which include:
    • Leave options to undertake study for up to 2 years
    • Career Break opportunities
    • improved focus on internal recruitment option prior to external advertisement

Continuing Compulsory Professional Development and Associated Accreditation Fees

  • Inclusion of payment of accreditation fees and associated training expenses for positions required to maintain accreditation because of legislative or Council job requirements.
  • 10 hours per annum or other CPD requirements to attend continuing professional development

Other Improvements / Additions into the new Enterprise agreement:

  • A Personal Leave Sharing Scheme to be implemented and voluntarily open to all employees which could be drawn upon by contributing members who can demonstrate a genuine need
  • Formalisation of NAIDOC Day Celebrations (1 day) paid leave for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees for participation in these celebrations
  • Support of Cultural Leave for employees who wish to participate in cultural, ceremonial or religious day of significance to employees.
  • Supported arrangements for Defence Service Leave, Volunteer Emergency Leave and Community Volunteer programs
  • Increased conditions of employment surrounding Bereavement Leave, Excess Hours Agreement, Annualised Salary Arrangements, Remote Response and paid Union Delegate Training. These improved conditions are now in alignment to the current Local Government (State) Award conditions.

Former – Local Area Workplace Agreements or Vocation Agreements:

Waste Collections – Now included in the full Enterprise Agreement – improved commencement/ finishing times, removal of KPI’s relating to allowances, formalisation of in house service provided services

Seasonal Lifeguards Agreement – Now included in the full Enterprise Agreement. Improvement to the accruals of personal leave to be continuous for each season for lifeguards after 3 seasons

Beresfield Childcare Centre – Now included in the full Enterprise Agreement. Improved conditions of penalty rates now paid for Show Holiday, nappy changing allowance included and other workplace flexibility arrangements resolved.

Summerhill Waste Management Facility Caretaker Agreement – Now included via letter of employment and Clause 44

Summerhill Waste Management Facility Site Operation – To be resolved in coming months in conjunction with the Leave Reserved Clause – all current conditions and payments to continue.

Trade Offs?

The USU can confirm, due to the, ongoing collective strength of the USU membership for over 100 years at City of Newcastle, there are only improvements to the current proposed Enterprise Agreement. All current conditions including penalty rates, received payments, public holidays (expanded for City of Newcastle employees), base rates of pay and allowances (including increases) are maintained and increased. There are no confirmed “trade-offs” or reduced conditions.

The USU membership has been integral in improving conditions of employment at City of Newcastle and this agreement continues this record.

Full Members meeting

As outlined above, the USU will be proposing a full members meeting in the near future to discuss and conduct a vote on the proposed new Enterprise Agreement. This meeting is still subject to various logistical arrangements and will be confirmed in the coming week. It is anticipated this meeting will be held on Thursday 25th October 2018, however other smaller meetings may need to occur in conjunction for remote workplaces to allow access for all USU members. All these arrangements will be confirmed in the coming days.

As above, due to the collective strength of the USU membership at City of Newcastle, a vote of the USU membership will direct the status and approval of any future new agreement. Therefore there is no need for any USU member to participate in the any other vote except the USU voting process.

Further information regarding the proposed changes, including the full document, is currently being distributed by USU representatives.

However, if you have any feedback or questions throughout the process, please contact your local USU workplace delegate/s – Keven Burgess – 0400 391 311 or Ross Warren – (02) 4974 2307 (NCC Admin Building). Alternatively, you can also contact USU Organiser Luke Hutchinson on 0419 761 323 or

Not yet a member??

Want to ensure you receive your vote counts? Want to be part of a united collective who continually improves wages and conditions?

How to Join?

Please contact your above USU delegate or USU Organiser Luke Hutchinson on 0419 761 323 or or join online here.


  1. Download this update in pdf format
  2. Can’t make the meeting? Download this voting forma to make sure you have your say!
  3. Download City of Newcastle Enterprise Agreement 2019 Comparison to Local Government (State) Award 2017 and City of Newcastle EA 2010 Conditions
  4. Download City of Newcastle Enterprise Agreement (EA) DRAFT