Fairfield Council's GM and three Executive Directors
Fairfield Council's GM and three Executive Directors

Fairfield City Council has now adopted policy and procedures to complement the Code of Conduct and regulate contact between councillors and staff. Pressed by the three unions as a result of the fiasco suspending two innocent employees for 12 weeks, the Council reversed the decision they had taken when the Division of Local Government recommended that they develop policy and procedures in common with more than 80% of councils in their Better Councils Program.

No wonder no one takes the DLG seriously, when they can make a recommendation to introduce a policy and the Council can just refuse. Anyway, they didn’t refuse our request.

This process requires that both the GM (known as City Manager at Fairfield) and the council sign off on the policy and procedures.

Ordinarily, Fairfield is very good at consulting with the Consultative Committee whenever a policy is developed that has an effect on staff. But not on this occasion. The Council just refused point blank.

Off and Running

LGNSW has provided the three unions party to this State Award a log of 44 claims - some of them supportable, some of them where we could be open-minded and some of them which should only be rejected. For example, we will reject the claim to exempt increase costs arising from legislative changes (like FBT, for example) from the 10% maximum leaseback fee, the claim to allow a Council to determine the size and composition of their consultative committee, the claim to introduce a discretion to ignore any or all of the functions of the consultative committee, and the claim to consider superannuation increases in any pay increase - just like the NSW Government wants to do to its employees.

The USU has 80 claims and the LGEA has 21.

Usually we restrict ourselves to 8 or 10, but on this occasion we have 24. Here is a link to our Log of Claims, in the order of the clauses in the Award we would like to amend and where there are no appropriate clauses, three additional claims at the end.

As a summary, we have claimed:

  1. commitment by the parties to “ensure and facilitate” flexibility for work and family responsibilities

  2. 3.25% pay increases to continue

  3. oblige councils which can’t attract suitably qualified staff to incorporate a market component in the salary system to allow them to do so

  4. oblige councils to make available access to bonus payments or other opportunities for employees who have progressed to the maximum for their position.

  5. oblige councils to make deductions from pay as authorised by the employee

  6. oblige councils to pay for and provide leave for accreditation under the BPB for employees on extended leave - especially on maternity leave

  7. oblige councils to consult on leaseback changes “before any definite decision is made to introduce any changes”

  8. ensure the Award is complied with by providing Union Picnic Day for union members only and if a council wants to provide an over award entitlement to an additional day off, then it should be provided to all employees
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