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Moreton Bay Regional Council – Paying Lawyers to Avoid Paying You

Local Authorities February 16, 2021

The Services Union fully understands the importance of the work you and your colleagues put in to deliver essential services to your local community, especially if you work in a front-line role.

That is why we have been supporting members at the Moreton Bay Regional Council who have not been receiving their entitlements because of “facilitative agreements” designed to cut penalty rates. Sometimes these agreements were entered into before the person had even commenced work at the Council. That’s right: they had to sign away their entitlements to get the job.

The Services Union argued in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission that this was wrong. Unfortunately, we were unable to convince the Commission that we were right. We then took the matter to the Industrial Court of Queensland. In the Court, MBRC has been pressing an argument that all Awards made since the Newman Government 2014 Award (you remember, the one that took away all your conditions) were invalid. This means that the MBRC is saying that those Awards do not exist. The Council is also now arguing that the certified agreements made based on those Awards do not exist either.

None of these arguments were raised by the employers when these awards or agreements were made. These are arguments which MBRC is only raising now because it does not want to pay some workers their penalty rates. To achieve this, the Council is splashing the cash to top end of town solicitors and barristers.

All of this to avoid paying penalty rates.

The Services Union has now retained lawyers as well. This is because we believe that you and your colleagues deserve penalty rates for working on the weekend. If you thought that MBRC had turned over a new leaf you were wrong. Just pause for a moment and think about what MBRC would be like to work at without The Services Union. All of you in Bands 1-3 take off 15% of your pay. All of you give back a third of your sick leave entitlements. Forget about anything over sixteen weeks redundancy pay. Frankly, you and your colleagues deserve better than this! If you work with someone who is not a member, remind them now of the work we do to safeguard the pay of all Council staff. Everyone stands to benefit, so all should contribute. Joining is easy at www.theservicesunion.com.au.

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