Everyone loves the 2014 State Award - including the President of the IRC

IRC President Michael Walton

It’s not unusual for the IRC to acknowledge the significance of agreement from complicated and intricate negotiations and the President of the IRC Justice Michael Walton on 16 July handed down his Reasons for Decision, identifying the real achievements of the complex negotiations that led to the making of the 2014 Award on 25 June.

We thought there were significant achievements in the Award – general improvements in conditions, clarification of things that may have been unclear to make life easier and no loss of anything, plus: increased obligations on councils to facilitate and implement flexible arrangements for employees’ family needs; better provisions on adoption leave; access to sick leave for family reunions for stolen children and other closed adoptions; an acknowledgement of the importance of health and wellbeing by providing access to sick leave for preventative health and fitness measures; a discretion for councils to provide half pay sick leave in extenuating circumstances of chronically ill or injured employees; and many more.
Amongst other things, the President said this:

The award established conditions of employment which struck an appropriate balance between the provision of fair conditions of employment and the maintenance of an industry which is economically sustainable and meeting its core objectives. The public interest is served by this approach because the significant contribution that the Local Government industry makes to the community of New South Wales will be enhanced by a harmonious industrial environment and the maintenance of a vibrant and stable Local Government sector.

The Award represents the latest in a succession of consent awards made in the industry since 1992. This outcome is a reflection of the maturity and sophistication of the industrial parties and their capacity to reach agreement in circumstances involving complex negotiations across an industry which is diverse in nature.

The combination of these considerations represented an overwhelming basis for the grant of the amended application and should result in congratulations being extended to the industrial parties to the award for this significant achievement.
So, everyone was happy, we’re mature and sophisticated, it was a significant achievement, and we can now start building on these improvements.

But, not everyone was happy …

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