Coun­cil work­ers to walk off job

The Cairns Post - - NEWS - CHRIS CAL­CINO­

(154 SCOTT ST – 4040 2200) (CNR SUP­PLY AND ROBERTS ROADS – 4040 3500) (26 JAMES STREET – 4092 3674) (79-85 GROVE STREET – 4089 2800) (2 MILL STREET – 4084 1800) UNION mem­bers em­ployed by Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil will walk off work to­mor­row as nine months of stalled wage ne­go­ti­a­tions hit a brick wall.

The Ser­vices Union sec­re­tary Neil Hen­der­son said the coun­cil had added insult to in­jury by can­celling any further ne­go­ti­at­ing with staff.

Em­ploy­ees have been with­out a base pay rate in­crease since July 2014, al­though they re­ceived one-off $1500 pay­ments in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Mr Hen­der­son said staff wanted real wage growth for the two miss­ing years.

“Our mem­bers have not had a pay in­crease to their base rate in al­most four years, which means their wages are not cov­er­ing the in­crease to the cost of liv­ing,” he said.

“The lat­est wage of­fer pro­posed is still a slap in the face by a coun­cil that is in a good fi­nan­cial po­si­tion.

“That good fi­nan­cial po­si­tion is some­thing which can be at­trib­uted to the hard work of em­ploy­ees.”

The coun­cil’s of­fer is a $2500 lump sum up front, plus 4.5 per cent from July 2018, with a 2 per cent rise an­nu­ally from July next year.

The unions want 3.5 per cent in­creases back­dated to July 2017, with 4.5 per cent from July 2018 and 2.5 per cent an­nu­ally from July next year.

The coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer John An­drejic has been at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble for each meet­ings.

He said only a mi­nor­ity of em­ploy­ees would be in­volved in to­mor­row’s strike.

“For the ma­jor­ity of coun­cil staff, Thurs­day will be busi­ness as usual,” he said.

“Where nec­es­sary, coun­cil will sup­ple­ment the work­force with con­tract staff to en­sure ser­vice lev­els are main­tained.

“We ex­pect that mem­bers of the pub­lic will not no­tice any sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence.”

Mr An­drejic said coun­cil man­agers were dis­ap­pointed unions had cho­sen pro­tected in­dus­trial ac­tion in­stead of let­ting all staff vote on the coun­cil’s salary of­fer.

“With re­gards to the EBA ne­go­ti­a­tions, coun­cil has now made five sep­a­rate of­fers to unions,” he said.

“To date, the unions have re­fused to al­low any of these of­fers to go to an all-staff vote.

“What­ever is paid to our em­ploy­ees is ul­ti­mately funded by the ratepay­ers of Cairns and we take our re­spon­si­bil­ity to both our em­ploy­ees and the ratepay­ers of Cairns very se­ri­ously.”

A rally will be held out­side the Spence St coun­cil cham­bers from 8am to­mor­row. of the dead­locked


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