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Council makes offer, despite mediation adjournment without settlement

13 May 2005

Mediation between the Southern Local Government Officers’ Union and the Christchurch City Council adjourned Thursday night, without reaching settlement.

The Council has presented a new offer at a total cost of $2.3 million or 5.1%, which would be effective 1 April 2005 to 30 June 2006 giving:

  • a range of lump sum payments equivalent to 2% of employees’ contracted working hours, ranging from $650 to $1160, and
  • various base rate increases over 15 months between 2.5% and 15%, depending on grade.

Council Negotiation Team leader and General Manager of Human Resources, Philippa Jones, says the offer, if accepted, would help address pay distortions, by holding base rates for lower grades while increasing top grades by up to 15% over 15 months. It is also within Council budget.

Ms Jones says a facilitation hearing, which was to take place today, had been adjourned by the union so it could present the Council’s latest offer to its membership. The Council is still of the view, however, that mediation is the way to progress negotiations.

“We’re obviously disappointed and frustrated that we got so close to settlement this time, only to have it collapse at the last minute, but the offer is now on the table for members’ to consider – crafted at the point where we were closest to agreement,” Ms Jones says. 

The issue holding back settlement is coverage of the collective agreement, where Council wants to exclude senior managers from this collective agreement, along with all Human Resources staff and personal assistants to general managers.

Ms Jones says the Council has never intended to stop senior managers or team leaders from joining any union or being in a collective agreement, but did not want them to be in the same collective as the staff they managed. HR and personal assistants would be excluded because of the confidential information they dealt with every day in the organisation.

Council offered in mediation to change the wording so that department managers currently working at Council could remain in the collective agreement, but any new hires into these positions would be excluded. This was not accepted by the union.

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