ASU delegates and organisers recently attended the first Yarra Ranges bargaining meeting of 2019, to receive the employer’s response to the union’s claims.

In good news, some claims have been referred to a drafting subcommittee, for the purpose of getting clauses ready for incorporation in the agreement.

However, the employer representatives expressed resistance to other claims, dismissing them as unnecessary, impractical, or already in policy.

Of the most importance, was the employer’s response to the requested pay increase of 3%.

The employer proposed that wages should be pegged to the Fair Go Rates System. The ASU disputed the necessity for this interdependence, as Councils annual report indicated a surplus of $25 million in the last financial year, and further, that the notes (note 9) to the financial statement indicated use of agency hire over a directly employed workforce had realised an additional surplus of $1.54 million in the financial year, directly attributable to the employer not filling vacancies, and undercutting wages in the agreement.

ASU said this $1.54 million dividend was provided by employees, who did the work of those who were not replaced, and it should be given back in recognition of the productivity employees have provided to the Council. In a candid response, an employer representative said all savings should go to the benefit of ratepayers, infrastructure, buildings, maintenance, and community projects.

How’s that for recognition?

It used to be that employees could use productivity they have contributed to increase their wages, but this council clearly has discarded any pretence of fairness, and brags about how privatisation increases their surplus and how employees are just another commodity.

There is hope, ASU call on all members to encourage your colleagues to join the union. Pin this news bulletin up on notice boards, read it at toolbox meetings, and more importantly, tell a non-member the only way to ensure a fair pay rise is to fight for it.

Now’s the time to stand up.

It’s a simple equation, more members = more negotiating power.

Anyone wanting join can go to

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