Your Union recently ran a dispute with Riverina Water claiming Council was in breach of the Award in refusing to pay full pay for a public holiday falling during a period of long service leave being taken at half pay in accordance with Clause 31(iv), Award Holidays which states ‘long service leave shall be exclusive of award holidays occurring during leave.

Your Union upheld the view that any public holiday falling during a period of Long Service Leave being taken at half pay, is exclusive of the period of Long Service Leave and therefore was to be paid at the full day rate. It also maintained that as a result of Council’s misinterpretation of the award that members had been financially disadvantaged.

This is important to you because Council’s position has an effect on all Council’s USU members who have elected or elect to take Long Service Leave at half pay where a public holiday falls in the period of Long Service Leave.

The result of the dispute was that Council conceded that “without admission of liability” it would identify and pay all current and former employees who received compensation for their underpayments approximated at around $5000. Council went on to position itself to have this condition removed from your Award in the next round of Award negotiations by stating “Council views the payment as an over award payment. This is important to protect Council’s position for the next round of award negotiations.”

To be absolutely clear this is wrong!

This is not an over Award payment. Council adopting and acting on a position not aligned with an Award clause and flagging that clause for removal in the next round of negotiations is a warning sign that we must be vigilant that this and other hard won conditions remain in your Award. It begs the question that if they are flagging an intent to come after this condition what else is on their radar to remove to your detriment?

Vital to protect your conditions

The Union has no intent now or during any of our negotiations with any employer to allow the whittling away of the wages or working conditions of our members. If you are not a Union member this is a warning bell to join with your work mates and help protect your wages and working conditions. If you are a member and know colleagues who are not in the Union now is the time to start a conversation about why it is so important that we stand united to ensure that your Award is defended with the determination and strength that only a Union strong workplace can deliver.

Want to know more?

Talk with your workplace delegates Rob McIntyre and Colin Fisher. You can also speak with your Union Organiser Mick Jones on email or phone 0450 020 589.