New phase for council workers, ratepayers and community
MONTHS of uncertainty is over for Gladstone Regional Council workers with the organisation implementing a new workplace agreement.
The new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, voted in in January, includes a 2.5 per cent pay rise for three years and provisions for up-skilling and training and no forced redundancies.
The decision followed more than six months of negotiations, which reached boiling point in October when workers held a strike to call on council to prepare a better agreement.
This week unions and the council are working together to implement the finer details of the new agreement.
Gladstone Region Mayor Matt Burnett said the new EBA strengthened job security within the organisation.
He said it would also help the council complete more work by its own employees, instead of looking for sub-contractors.
"We have a commitment to ensuring our own workforce is favourably considered before work is outsourced," Cr Burnett said.
"Our people do great and vital work for our community and it's important that they are remunerated fairly.
"We believe the agreement recognises the value of our workforce while considering the needs of our organisation, ratepayers and community."
Australian Services Union Central Queensland organiser Chris McJannett said the agreement helped ease job security concerns following a major workforce restructure last year.
The changes, expected to save the council $14.4million, led to more than 100 redundancies and a new director structure.
There were 139 positions created.
Mr McJannett also credited the council for including a casual conversion clause in the new agreement.
"Council is coming to the table with this and we are seeing more permanent workers with a better work-life balance," Mr McJannett said.
Securing a new EBA was highlighted as one of the short-term goals for chief executive Leisa Dowling who was appointed in November last year.
She told The Observer at the time the council's inclusion of a no-forced redundancies clause "clearly showed" its intentions in terms of giving employees job security.