On Thursday 27 June 2019 the bargaining for a new Enterprise agreement continued. There are still a number of issues on the Log of Claims which are being worked through with further negotiations scheduled for next Friday 5 July 2019.
Significantly the City of Hobart tabled its wages offer as part of the bargaining process. The offer is for a three-year agreement with 2.5% each year. The City of Hobart advised that the offer was subject to the “total package” being agreed and was its “Best Offer”.
The City of Hobart advised that it believed its offer was a fair offer and rather than tabling a lower offer it was tabling its best offer upfront. The City of Hobart advised that its offer was consistent with community expectations and was within the parameters of budgetary constraints.
The unions expressed concern that the offer was too low. In particular the unions identified that private sector wages growth in Tasmania is growing at 3.1%, a number of employers have agreed to wages outcomes at or above 3% including a number of Local government councils in Tasmania. The unions also expressed concern that both the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Federal Treasury have identified the need for wages growth to be at or above 3% to stimulate economic growth throughout the Australian economy. The unions also noted that the Fair Work Commission has lifted Award wages by 3% this year coming off the back of 3.5% last year and 3.3% the year before.
With those observations in mind the unions, and having regard for the budgetary constraints this financial year, tabled an in principle counter offer of 2.75 % in year 1, 3% in year 2, and 3.25% in year 3 and as part of that package addressing the anticipated legislative increase in superannuation payments in 2020.The unions advised that we were open to exploring other options which delivered 9% over three years. After significant discussion the City of Hobart was not prepared to alter its offer.
The unions have requested the City of Hobart to review its position and consider an alternative approach. The council advised that it would review its position but there should not be any expectation that it would move on its offer as the City remained of the view that the offer it has tabled was the best offer it could make.
The unions have also sought agreement to an operative date of 1 July 2019 for the first increase. The City of Hobart are yet to commit to that request.
A further update will be provided following next Fridays meeting.