We start negotiating a new Local Government State Award this month

Yes, it’s that time again. Every three years it’s here before we know it, another seven to nine months of negotiation between the three unions and LGNSW and the normal posturing to get things started by LGNSW with a range of issues they raise every time including wanting indoor staff to work a 38 hour week. This claim gets dragged up each award from either their HR/management consultative group, or some of the members of their Board who want to demonstrate their interest in stripping away entitlements and conditions of employment.

We like Delacroix’s 1830 depiction of “Liberty Leading the People” in the battle against the forces of reaction and privilege to remind us that the forces of reaction need to be dealt with in these discussions as well.

Given that the original Award was made in late 1991 by agreement between LGNSW and the three unions, and has been varied every three years or so since by agreement, those kind of claims get pushed aside fairly quickly so we can get on with those things where it’s possible to reach agreement. This year will be no different.

You may see petitions around the place being circulated via the USU urging signatures to protect employment and while we ignore the posturing by the bosses, we encourage you to sign the petition.

Here’s a link to the LGNSW log of claims and here’s a link to our log, endorsed by the Committee of Management this week. You will see we’ve incorporated in it some suggested changes to the Award based upon experiences we’ve had in disputes with councils over the past few years.

Like the other parties, we reserve our right to any other claims as well, so if there’s something you’d really like to see added, let us know.

As a procedural step LGNSW filed an industrial dispute to allow a role for the IRC when we come down to those issues we are struggling to resolve. It was listed before Commissioner Murphy on 28 August and we agreed that we would start negotiating for a day on 23 September at the USU office, 28 October at the LGNSW office (after some good-natured banter about whether they could afford to provide lunch given their embracing of a new austerity) and back to the USU on 2 December.

Commissioner Murphy set eight days starting on 6 November and with a final date of 22 June where, all things being equal, the 2020 Award will be made by consent of the parties to operate from 1 July. And, because optimism is always a good thing to embrace going into an exercise like this, 9 June has been set as well - and wouldn’t it be nice if the bosses drop off their stupid claims and we reach agreement on a new improved award and have it made nice and early in June.

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