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Christchurch City Council and Southern Local Government Officers Union agree on mediation

31 October 2006

The Christchurch City Council and the Southern Local Government Officers Union (SLGOU) have agreed to go into mediation on their Salaried Staff Collective Agreement today.

Council General Manager Human Resources Philippa Jones says that while good progress has been made on a range of issues since the negotiations started in June this year, the parties have different views on the key issues of remuneration and hours of work.

However, in a bid to reach agreement, both parties agreed to request the assistance of the Department of Labour Mediation Service and the services of Walter Grills, who has considerable experience in mediating on these issues.

“We are again seeking to redress the imbalance in our salary structure in which workers on the lower grades are paid well above the market rates, while those in the higher grades are well below the market. These higher graded staff are, for example, the engineers and planners who are keenly sought after in the labour market. If we don’t meet market pay rates in these key areas, then we won’t attract the calibre of staff we need,” Ms Jones says.

Ms Jones says the Council is also very mindful of the impact that any salary increase will have on rates.

“The Council has increased rates this year to cover levels of services and capital projects. There is provision for a wage increase in our budget, but we have to work within the amount allocated,” she says.

The Council is also seeking greater flexibility around hours of work so it can support its business, comply with the Local Government Act 2002, and be responsive to community needs. The Council confirms that the current 37.5 ordinary hours of work for current employees will not change.

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