by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow
Wattle Range Council workers enterprise agreement vote by outside council workers was unanimous in the negative on Thursday 11th June with the 38 voting against and none for. This meeting followed their attendance at the June council meeting on the preceding Tuesday. AWU Representative Kathleen Galpin addressed council as a resident and ratepayer in response to the draft business plan and budget 2015/16. She began by saying she was speaking for the workers who could not speak for themselves because they are employees of the council. Ms Galpin requested permission to speak at the May meeting but had been denied by Mayor Peter Gandolfi citing the Australian Local Government Act.
“Wattle Range Council workers are the lowest paid in the district and among the lowest paid in the state,” she said.
Referring to council’s objectives in the draft business plan and budget she said “Sustainability is a great objective but sustainability is about all people,” she said. “The 2.2% yearly pay rise is not in keeping with sustainability for the workers,” she said.
“Council’s are about all people,” she said. ” Decisions are made by council but it is the workers that make these decisions happen. Council should aspire to be a model employer and seek organisational excellence, employee engagement and best practices.”
Yesterday’s (Thursday) meeting rejected councils proposed Enterprise Agreement of three years at 2.2% yearly. The 38 attending voted against with 4 unable to attend indicating they would also vote against. Ms Galpin said she understands the 4 absent workers vote cannot be included, but wanted them recognised.
Council ceased bargaining on May 11th 2015, she said.
Ms Galpin said all people should be treated with fairness and respect and invited council to look around the room at those who believe they were not being treated so.
“Just as you aspire to a sustainable budget so are all the people around this room. These people are the lowest paid in council and a lower percentage disadvantages them further. Council workers put most of what they earn back into council by way of their spending in the community and asked council to remember that budgets are about people.”
“If there is organisational excellence, why are we here?” she asked.
The formal vote has been followed up with an email to council saying. “The AWU re-affirms their willingness to re-commence bargaining and seeks councils’ intention.”
Wattle Range CEO Peter Harriott told 5THE FM in prior report that he would follow the processes but would not be making a statement at this time.
Above photos courtesy of AWU
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