Council workers to walk off job
(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
WE EXPECT THAT MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WILL NOT NOTICE ANY SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE TO COUNCIL OPERATIONS