Sydney City Council protects workers from WorkChoices

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Sydney City Council protects workers from WorkChoices

Sydney City Council has decided to shield its 1,000-strong workforce from WorkChoices by awarding a 4% pay rise and enshrining basic rights at work, including penalty rates and roster stability, in a union agreement.

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Sydney City Council has decided to shield its 1,000-strong workforce from WorkChoices by awarding a 4% pay rise and enshrining basic rights at work, including penalty rates and roster stability, in a union agreement.  

General Secretary of the United Services Union, Ben Kruse, representing the council workers, welcomed the decision as 'a win for collective bargaining and workers' rights'. 

Kruse said the decision 'rejects the Howard Government's extreme WorkChoices regime and defends workers' rights to fair wages and job security'.

Sets benchmark

He said the agreement 'sets the benchmark' for all other councils in NSW.  
 
'It is the product of months of negotiations between progressive councillors and the United Services Union — and it is an exemplar of workplace cooperation,' Kruse said. 'Our message now to the State's 151 other councils is to follow The City Of Sydney Council's lead and support rights at work.'

Vinnies fight over sacking

Meanwhile workers and volunteers from St Vincent de Paul will today (Tuesday) rally around two colleagues at the Industrial Relations Commission, where arbitration will take place after they were allegedly sacked for trying to resolve a dispute collectively.

The staff members, one of whom previously worked as a volunteer with St Vincent de Paul for 18 years, were dismissed after they raised concerns about a manager at the Society.

Collective rights

Australian Services Union Secretary, Sally McManus, said said what is at stake is the right of workers under State awards to have grievances dealt with collectively.

'Most industrial disputes are complex issues, but this one is not,' McManus said. 'The staff members attempted to collectively raise their concern with the Society and to have their issues dealt with as a group.

'For this they were sacked. At stake now is the right to act collectively and the right to speak freely about workplace concerns without fear of being bullied.'

Related

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