The United Services Union has welcomed an announcement by the NSW Government that it will advance $6.2 million to Central Coast Council to ensure the wages of more than 2000 staff are paid.
The union held discussions with Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock and the Office of Local Government today regarding the financial crisis facing the council, resulting in the commitment of funds to ensure workers were paid and local services continued to operate.
Urgent proceedings before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission also secured a major industrial win, with the commission endorsing the union’s position that workers should be paid as normal today.
USU General Secretary Graeme Kelly OAM said it was outrageous that Central Coast Council had issued a public threat to not pay staff.
“Refusing to pay the wages owed to staff is nothing short of reprehensible,” Mr Kelly said.
“It is absolutely outrageous that Central Coast Council thought they could use this threat as some sort of bizarre bargaining chip.
“All they achieved was causing unnecessary fear and hardship among their workforce, and concern in the broader community.
“The NSW Government, and Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock in particular, should be commended for meeting with the union as a matter of urgency, listening to our concerns, and taking action in a manner that provided certainty for staff and the local community.
“We will continue to work with the Minister and Office of Local Government over the coming weeks to ensure workers don’t suffer hardship as a result of the apparent financial mismanagement of Central Coast Council.
“In relation to Minister Hancock’s notice of intention to suspend Central Coast Council and appoint an interim administrator, the USU is committed to working with all relevant parties, including an administrator, in the best interest of hard-working staff.
“The USU will continue to advocate for our members, ensuring any changes proposed for the council are in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Award.”
Media comment: Luke Hutchinson — 0419 761 323
Further information: Tim Vollmer — 0404 273 313