Liverpool City Council employees stop work

Issue 
Liverpool city council has begun discussions of outsourcing of the council’s customer services.

Members of the United Services Union (USU) at Liverpool City Council, NSW, stopped work on March 11 to discuss management’s attacks on members’ working conditions. The stopwork took place in Bigge Park in the centre of Liverpool from 10am.

USU state secretary Graham Kelly told the meeting that Liverpool chief executive officer Carl Wulff had begun talking to councillors in August last year about the outsourcing of the council’s customer services.

Wulff was the former CEO of Ipswich Council in Queensland, where he oversaw a similar process. Customer services staff were transferred to the control of human resources firm Propel. Eight years after the deal was done, 58 out of 110 former council staff have left, replaced by workers on lower wages and inferior conditions.

Kelly told the meeting that the union was pursuing the matter through the Industrial Relations Commission. The union has also lodged a freedom of information request with Liverpool Council seeking details on its dealings with Propel. The council was resisting the request, Kelly said.

Attacks are also being made on the working conditions of other Liverpool Council staff.

Childcare workers and depot staff (concreters, road crews and others) enjoy a 36-hour week worked over four days a week on a rotating roster.

The condition was negotiated in addition to award conditions, and is very popular among staff. Council management has told childcare workers that it can no longer afford this concession and has warned that it wants them to work a five-day week, with no increase in pay. There are fears that management will try to extend the give-back to depot staff.

The USU understands that an agreement with Propel will be presented to the Liverpool Council meeting on March 25 and has called for all members and supporters to attend the meeting to pressure councillors into delaying any decision.

The meeting will be held at 6pm on March 25 at the Francis Greenway Centre on George St, Liverpool. All USU members and supporters are encouraged to attend.

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