On Friday 27th March 2020, 203 casual employees at Sutherland Shire Council Leisure Centres were advised of a shutdown of their work locations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Council failed to notify the United Services Union (USU) of this decision prior to this date, which is a breach of Sutherland Council’s Enterprise Agreement and Award conditions.

The USU lodged an industrial dispute in the New South Wales Industrial Commission where the matter remains open for a further four (4) weeks to allow the parties to work through these matters.

The union is now advised that another 104 casual employees will be notified in the coming days.

While these employees have not been terminated and Council has committed to attempt to find alternative work for the employees, Council has indicated that redeployment arrangements will be difficult to find. The Union’s position will be that, when work resumes as normal those employees carrying out those duties should be offered work again.

Officers of the Union will be meeting with the CEO of Council on Monday to further discuss this and other related matters.

Some of the employees affected by this decision have worked for Council for over 15 years. The Union believes that some employees may have been wrongly classified as Casual Employees and should in fact be classified as permanent employees of the Council.

The Union will continue to prosecute this issue on behalf of those members and bring the matter before the Industrial Relations Commission if necessary.

The Union is seriously concerned by the large number of casual employees engaged by Council and we will pursue the enforcement of Award provisions and protections for more permanent forms of employment at Sutherland Shire Council.

The Union believes that all workers deserve the support of their employer in these difficult times, and the union will continue to work towards positive and sustainable outcomes for USU members.

We will keep our members updated as this matter progresses.

Should you be concerned about your position at Sutherland Council please contact your USU Organiser Rudi Oppitz on 0409 662 460 or roppitz@usu.org.au