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No Stand-Down Without Consultation

Local Authorities March 25, 2020

The Services Union has forced Cairns Regional Council to reverse a decision to stand down library employees without pay due to library closures. The Council told the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) that it did not believe it needed to consult under the terms of the Certified Agreement in order to stand down employees. Both The Services Union and the QIRC disagreed.

While these are no doubt very difficult times, members of our Union are entitled to consultation about what is happening in their workplace. Many employers are doing this routinely; after all, we are all in this together.

Disappointingly, there have been several examples of very poor consultation. Worse has been the threatening behaviour when we have called those employers to account. Pandemic or no pandemic, you are entitled to meaningful consultation about changes to the way your Council intends to operate while we deal with this crisis. If you are not getting it, let us know.

Councils should be leading the way in trying to maintain employment during this time to assist their communities by keeping the local economy ticking over and community services operating. Ensuring members of the community can utilise library services, particularly internet access, is one of the most important things a Council can do at this time. Stand-down should be the absolute last item on the agenda, not the first.

There’s never been a better time to be a member of The Services Union. We are firmly by your side during this crisis, and we’ve seen a glimpse of the alternative at Cairns. Don’t be caught out alone: join now at


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