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City Council and union negotiations settled

29 June 2005

City Council staff have voted overwhelmingly to accept the recommended terms of settlement for a collective agreement covering salaried employees at a Southern Local Government Union meeting today.

Human Resources General Manager for Council, Philippa Jones, says she is pleased at the SLGOU members’ decision to accept the recommended  terms of settlement.

The settlement includes a package totalling 5.19% over two years of the salaries budget and goes a considerable way towards resolving distortions in the salary structure to make it more equitable and fair for employees and the community, Ms Jones says.

While there remains a gap between the salaries in the collective and the market rate for more senior roles, the Council is pleased at progress made in this negotiation round.

The package also includes changes to the collective agreement which will introduce more flexibility to ensure Council is more responsive to changing community needs, she says.  Such changes include more flexible hours of work, recruitment based on merit, and clearer processes during reorganisations.

Savings will have to be made in the budget during the next 12 months to ensure that the cost of the settlement is maintained within the budgeted salary increases in the Council’s annual budget allocation for 2004 / 2006.

While the negotiations process around this collective agreement has been frustrating and time consuming for all involved – taking 12 months to resolve - it reflects the new direction in Council initiated by Chief Executive Lesley McTurk in 2003.

“We need to be clearly accountable to the community, as well as be responsive to changing community aspirations. The change in the Council’s  approach to bargaining has been challenging for the SLGOU, but it has resulted in changes that can better deliver for the city,” Ms Jones says.

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