Negotiations Continue Between Fairfield Council and the United Services Union

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Workers outside the Sustainable Resource Centre last Thursday. Image source: Fairfield Advance

Workers outside the Sustainable Resource Centre last Thursday.
Image source: Fairfield Advance

A dispute over a new enterprise agreement led 169 workers to strike last Thursday and Friday. Fairfield Council and the United Services Union are negotiating to resolve the issue.

Fairfield Advance reported that Union organiser Sandi Morthen said workers opposed a council proposal in which some staff would lose allowances worth between $50 and $207 per fortnight.

Negotiations over a new enterprise agreement have been taking place since November last year.

Outdoor staff, including garbage collectors, went on strike at 7am last Thursday, followed later that day by indoor staff, after the negotiations broke down.

Workers holding a meeting outside the Council administration building on Friday morning. Image source: Fairfield Advance

Workers holding a meeting outside the Council administration building on Friday morning.
Image source: Fairfield Advance

As a result of the action, Wetherill Park, Fairfield and Bonnyrigg libraries were partially closed for several days.

“Imagine if you had to go home and tell your partner ‘I’m going to get paid $207 less’,” Ms Morthen said.

“For a low-income family that’s a substantial amount of money.”

In a statement, Fairfield Council said there had been minimal disruption to council services.

A conciliation meeting was held at the NSW Industrial Relations Commission on Friday and workers agreed to resume their normal shifts from Saturday.

“As to how we end up. I’m cautiously optimistic,” Ms Morthen said.

Fairfield Council said several offers had been made to the unions to resolve all outstanding issues.