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CAIRNS REGIONAL COUNCIL FAILS TO COMPLY WITH ITS OBLIGATION TO CONSULT ABOUT YOUR EMPLOYMENT SECURITY –
ETU TAKES ACTION
9 August 2012
As a result of a complete failure on the part of Council to follow their own Certified Agreement provisions your union has notified the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) that we are in dispute with the Council.
What is this dispute about?
Council has decided - for reasons best known only to themselves - to call for expressions of interest for voluntary redundancies affecting approximately 50 employees. This was communicated to staff by email on 1 August at 3.00pm. One minute earlier, Council had provided a copy of the email to all the unions’ party to the Cairns Regional Council Certified Agreement 2009.
No reason has been given by Council to justify their position.
Why we have filed the Dispute.
Our concern with this is that Council has completely ignored the consultation provisions of the Certified Agreement which states at Clause 5.2 REDUNDANCY – RETRENCHMENT that:
“(b) Where it appears that a position or positions are likely to become redundant, the Council shall, at the earliest practicable time, provide all relevant details to the Union/s concerned and arrange discussion with the Union’s.
(c) Relevant details to be provided to the Union/s shall include:-
(i) the reasons for the position or positions being redundant;
(ii) the number, classification, location and details of the redundant position or positions;
(iii) presentation of an organisation plan of the work unit concerned.
(d) Discussions with the Union/s shall include:-
(i) the method of identifying positions as redundant, having regard to the efficient and economical working of that enterprise;
(ii) advice and the timing of advice to the Employees.”
COUNCIL HAS DONE NONE OF THESE THINGS!
If they start ignoring important provisions like this they may continue to do it in the future.
Furthermore, the ETU has been provided information that there are over 100 Labour Hire employees and Contractors still being utilised. If this is true Council have no right to make permanent positions redundant.
Once a position is made redundant, the JOB IS GONE and can’t be replaced. This town is currently experiencing an unemployment rate of 7.8% and if allowed Council will have slashed 7% of its overall staff numbers in recent times
What has the union done?
The Union has repeatedly called on Acting CEO Peter Tabulo to postpone the process and to commence consultation.
Due to his refusal, an urgent QIRC conciliation conference was held on Monday 6 August 2012 and a further conference held on Wednesday 8 August 2012.
After presentations by the unions present and by Council, Commissioner Brown formed the view that consultation should have occurred and had not. The Agreement is clear about the need for consultation.
Commissioner Brown recommended that the current closing date of Expressions of Interest for Voluntary Redundancy be suspended. This was to allow immediate consultation to take place in accordance with the Agreement provisions.
Council ignored the original recommendation of the QIRC to suspend the Expressions of Interest deadline and decided to proceed. They also proceeded with presentations on the proposed redundancies without notifying employees of the matter being in dispute.
At the second conference Unions presented an account of how Council had responded and submitted that this had been contrary to the requirements of the Certified Agreement and to the recommendation of Commissioner Brown. Council agreed that they had chosen to proceed with the Expression of Interest process.
Commissioner Brown expressed his disappointment the CRC had not followed his recommendation. He restated that consultation should have occurred and had not. Commissioner Brown also restated his recommendation that the deadline for Expressions of Interest of 22 August should be suspended pending proper consultation with unions. Unions will meet with Council on Friday 10 August and a report back will be made to the Commissioner on Monday 13 August 2012 about the outcome of the meeting and the progress of the dispute.
The Commissioner also restated that a factual account of the QIRC proceedings is to be made to all employees informing them of the proceedings in the Commission including that there have been 2 dispute conferences, that the Commissioner had twice recommended to Council that the Expression of Interest process should be suspended pending consultation with unions and that this consultation will commence with the meeting on 10 August 2012.
The Commissioner was clear that if need be the conference can be reconvened next week.
Further Information will be provided following the Consultation process and report back to the QIRC.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact ETU Far North Organiser, Stuart Traill, 0430072049.
SUPPORT THE UNION THAT SUPPORTS YOU AND YOUR JOBS.
MAKE SURE THAT NON MEMBERS SIGN UP AND SUPPORT YOUR JOBS AND JOBS FOR OUR COMMUNITY.