Brimbank council-staff pay stalemate: Fair Work called in

The Australian Services Union (ASU) has called on the Fair Work Commission to step in on enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations after Brimbank council staff voted down their employer’s offer.

ASU organiser Russell McGregor said that of the 962 council staff who voted, 546 were against the draft EBA. Despite this, the council refuses to go back to the negotiating table.

In a newsletter sent to union members last week, the ASU confirmed it had called on the Fair Work Commission to resolve the dispute and ensure procedural fairness.

“Based on the vote, the workers have spoken and democracy has prevailed,” the newsletter stated.

“The unions accepted the outcome of the vote and requested to go back to the table with council to achieve an amicable outcome in the best interests of all parties.

“It’s extremely disappointing that council’s email to the combined unions stated that council would not be returning to the negotiation table.

“This type of behaviour is certainly unusual and not respecting the rights of workers and democracy.

Furthermore, it highlights the fact that council is out of touch with its own workforce and refuses to bargain in good faith or even listen to its workers.”

Council staff and the ASU are concerned about job security and the contracting out of vital council services, including rubbish collection.

Employees are also concerned about a clause that refers to the introduction of GPS devices on council vehicles, plant and equipment, and surveillance technology.

Staff have gone on strike twice in the past two months, and indefinite bans are now in place against a number of council services.

These include rubbish collection, street cleaning, issuing of infringement notices in selected areas, and maintenance of selected parks and sports grounds.

Brimbank corporate and community relations director Helen Morrissey said the ‘no’ vote would not change the council’s offer.

“As council has emphasised in communications with staff, a very good offer was put on the table,” she said.