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Staff impose bans

Friday, 19th December, 2008

Unionists employed at City Council will impose work bans from today as negotiations for a new three-year agreement soured again yesterday.

At two separate meetings held in the afternoon, members of the United Services Union (USU) agreed to impose bans on overtime and travel and will work-to-rule.

The action follows Council's refusal to increase its three per cent pay offer to staff, according to Barrier Industrial Council president Danny O'Connor.

The USU is seeking an annual five per cent pay increase with no trade-offs as part of a new three-year enterprise agreement.

"These bans will be in place until the pay dispute is resolved between Council and the union," said Mr O'Connor, who attended yesterday's meetings.

"The membership at both meetings have resolved that they are quite happy to upgrade their industrial action should their pay dispute drag on past January."

Mr O'Connor said the BIC executive would meet today to back the union's decision.

USU delegate Chris Wellington said that the bans would be in place from today and disrupt garbage collection over the Christmas public holiday period.

Mr Wellington said it was unclear what additional action would be taken by members beyond January if the dispute is not resolved.

Negotiations for a new agreement appeared to be back on track early last month after Council and the USU agreed to resume talks after members rejected the three per cent offer.

But Mr Wellington said that the three per cent offer appeared again on an amended version of the proposed agreement which the union received from Council on Wednesday.

In a swipe at Frank Zaknich, Mr O'Connor said he found it extraordinary that the general manager was given a 4.2 per cent wage rise based on productivity savings when Council paid out $240,000 in overtime last financial year.

"I find it quite unbelievable that the general manager Frank zaknich can hold his hand out and receive a 4.2 per cent pay rise, the Council in this case being Ken Boyle, for his productivity.

"Where is his productivity when he has a $240,000 overtime bill?"

Mr Zaknich said last night that as far as he was concerned the agreement negotiations were still going.

He said he had not been informed about yesterday's meetings or the outcomes.

"We're still negotiating," he said.

"There is a negotiation process we're going through that we'd agreed to at the very start.

"They haven't had the courtesy of advising us of these meetings at this stage."

Mr Zaknich said he was still willing to negotiate an outcome with the USU.

"If we still don't agree we'll be going to the Industrial Relations Commission."

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