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Toowoomba Regional Council – Single Bargaining Unit Update

Local Authorities July 20, 2021

Contrary to the CEO’s newsletter of last Wednesday, all unions of the Single Bargaining Unit (SBU) remain committed to bargaining in good faith but unfortunately, Toowoomba Regional Council has shut up shop. The SBU has withdrawn over 40 claims from the combined log, whereas the Council is unwilling to bargain or revise its position.

At last Wednesday’s negotiations, the SBU tabled members’ feedback to the Council’s half-baked pay offer. This feedback was gathered at several meetings where we explained the two proposals the Council tabled on 7 July. The overwhelming response from members was to reject the Council’s proposals and to tell the CEO to table a better offer. Members also requested that the Unions take steps towards Protected Industrial Action, should a better offer not be forthcoming.

The SBU relayed this feedback to the Council last Wednesday, with each union explaining the reasons why and outlining the key unresolved issues. This resulted in the Council’s external consultant verbally insulting and disrespecting at least one Union official. This behaviour is clearly unacceptable, therefore the SBU unions left the meeting.  As a sidenote, we wonder why the Council is wasting thousands of dollars (which could help fund a fair pay increase) on an external consultant to negotiate this agreement if it has an adequate HR department.

The bottom line is that the Council’s representatives have stated that there will be no improved offer, and that the current proposal is the Council’s “best deal”. This “take it or leave it” approach clearly shows that the Council has stopped negotiating and is not bargaining in good faith. Therefore, the only option left is to act on members’ call to facilitate protected industrial action ballots.

Every member of each Union will shortly be able to vote on whether to support protected action. Your organiser will explain the process for your union in detail over the coming weeks. Voting “yes” in your union’s ballot will allow the SBU to apply maximum pressure to the Council in support of a better bargaining outcome. Only members get to vote on and participate in protected industrial action.

If the CEO and the Council want to avoid Industrial Action they need to come to the table with a better offer. It would also help if the CEO attended a meeting. Despite numerous requests from the unions and bargaining reps, the CEO has not attended a single meeting. Not one! If he were serious about fixing the toxic culture in the organisation and bargaining in good faith, he would front the SBU at the bargaining table.

Regardless, the SBU remains committed to delivering a fair pay deal for you and is willing to negotiate at any time. It’ s now up to the CEO to come to the table and try and fix this mess.

Please contact your delegate or organiser if you have any questions.

We know from experience that a strong union presence gets better results. Those who aren’t members of their respective Union are supporting Council’s attempt to reduce your working conditions and offer a sub-standard pay proposal.

Encourage your colleagues to Join Your Union today

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