On July 30, Liverpool Council outdoor staff walked off the job after hearing that management wants to “tender out” cleaners’ jobs.
Management wants to “cut costs” by tendering the jobs to cheaper firms which would pay less and provide a poorer service for residents. The United Services Union (USU) said that management, cynically, had offered to help workers prepare a tender for their own jobs!
On August 4, the workers voted to extend the strike rather than return to work. They picketed Council’s administration building in Liverpool City Centre, calling on indoor staff to support their campaign. Many indoor staff, including those threatened with outsourcing, did not cross the picket line.
In March, the Liberal-controlled council voted to become the first in NSW to outsource management of administrative staff to the labour-management company Propel.
The 10-year contract offers Propel the right to use council resources to tender for other work–including potentially poaching work from other councils–at the expense of unionised jobs elsewhere.
Council management trumpets the so-called “Liverpool Services Alliance” as a model for other councils to follow. The model is part of the NSW government’s “Fit for the Future” regime. The proposal will erode job security, divide the workforce, and allow a private company to profit from using council's resources.
The USU has been waging its fight for jobs against the council in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.