Workers from the City of Newcastle will meet today (12noon, Thursday 3 October 2019) to discuss positive progress in negotiations to resolve a dispute around the treatment of employees recently impacted by workplace change processes.

The United Services Union and the City of Newcastle have agreed to a joint statement outlining their efforts to resolve the dispute, along with continuing efforts to build a positive and productive industrial relationship that operates in the best interest of workers and the broader community.

“The USU is pleased Council has now acknowledged the impact of their recent actions,” USU organiser Luke Hutchinson said.

“Furthermore, it has provided commitments to work with the USU collectively to find solutions to these matters and comply with the intent of the Enterprise Agreement.

“We will report back to our irate membership with the intent of providing these positive developments and to avert any further industrial unrest.

“The USU certainly does not want to inconvenience the broader community we have always strived to resolve these important industrial matters and ensure our members are treated with dignity and respect.”

Joint statement from the City of Newcastle and United Services Union:

City of Newcastle (CN) CEO Jeremy Bath and representatives from the United Services Union (USU) met on 30th September 2019, to discuss various concerns raised by the USU regarding the treatment of employees recently impacted by workplace change processes within the IT Service Unit and several other industrial concerns.

During these discussions there have been some considerable differences but also close to several resolutions. All parties have remained committed to finding solutions that everyone can support, because it is critical to remain in control of these important matters.

The CEO has acknowledged the need for CN to improve this situation and also acknowledged that CN did not meet the expectations of the affected employees in relation to people management on this occasion. CN is now working collaboratively with the USU to strengthen existing processes that support workplace change. Furthermore, the CEO offered to extend an apology on behalf of the organisation to the employees impacted who felt disrespected by the manner their redeployment was communicated to them. CN has proposed a review of its processes and communication regarding workplace change in collaboration with the USU.

As a result of this meeting some important steps will now be put in place to further assist these employees as part of the redeployment program, with the support of their union representatives, as we think that it will be good for both employees and CN.

This will also improve the way we engage on these processes in the future to ensure effective communication with employees and their union, to assist mitigating any adverse effects of workplace changes. This also includes the review of the redeployment processes to ensure employees are fully aware of the structure, strategy, timeframes and designed outcomes.

The CEO has again reaffirmed the shared vision along with the USU that the redeployment program is to be structured and based on genuine actions and timeframes.

In accordance with Clause 40.2 of the City of Newcastle Enterprise Agreement 2019, the redeployment program is designed to:

    • Provide employment security for our employees;
    • Involve you in organisational change; and
    • Provide genuine training and support to assist in gaining alternative employment

Most importantly, the parties have agreed to continue these discussions to ultimately resolve all current outstanding industrial matters and the continual endeavours of building a positive and productive industrial relationship to benefit all employees of the City of Newcastle and the broader community.

The USU membership will meet on Thursday 3rd October 2019 (12 noon) to discuss these positive developments.

Media comment: Luke Hutchinson 0419 761 323

Further information: Tim Vollmer 0404 273 313