STRIKE ACTION: Livingstone Shire Council workers gathered to protest in front of the Centre of Excellence for Disaster Management, Innovation and Community Resilience, otherwise known as The Hub on Friday to increase pressure on LSC regarding their negotiations.
STRIKE ACTION: Livingstone Shire Council workers gathered to protest in front of the Centre of Excellence for Disaster Management, Innovation and Community Resilience, otherwise known as The Hub on Friday to increase pressure on LSC regarding their negotiations. Contributed

Livingstone Council staff's industrial dispute kicks off

AFTER the sabre rattling and talk of worker lock-outs, the industrial dispute between Livingstone Shire Council and unions swung into action yesterday.

Livingstone Shire CEO Chris Murdoch said late Thursday afternoon the Australian Workers Union withdrew its proposed industrial action but the remaining unions pressed ahead..

"The collective unions notified council of the industrial action after the time for the conciliation meeting had been set for next Wednesday,” Ms Murdoch said.

"The proposed action far exceeds the wearing of stickers, and includes, during paid work time, numerous work stoppages, communicating campaign messages to customers, inserting messages supporting the union's bargaining position into official council communications, placing campaign signage on work desks and counters as well as a periodic ban on working out of hours, performing overtime, completing paperwork and not answering telephone calls.

"Council supports employees' rights to take industrial action, however council is responding to the industrial action within the parameters under the relevant legislation for the best interest of all employees and our customers.”

The Services Union Regional Organiser Chris McJannett said yesterday's planned industrial action for its union members was solely to wear stickers and put up signs in the workplace.

He maintained that the council had threatened in return to lock out any worker wearing a sticker or putting up a sign.

"Unions are taking a measured approach and have sought to give council every opportunity to avoid this situation,” Mr McJannett said.

"It is still in council's hands to avoid any further industrial action, however they appear to be choosing to prevent workers from doing their jobs, stopping them from delivering vital community services.

"It has been great to see the vocal support for these council workers amongst the local community since word got out about council's attitude and threats to the workforce.”

He said council workers were committed to this community and sought fair treatment from council so they could continue to shop in our region and support local businesses.

"In response to council's plan to lock workers out, Union members have resolved to take further action on Wednesday morning. They have been left with no alternative by council,” he said.

"Council can return to the bargaining table and offer a fair and reasonable outcome at any stage. Industrial action is only taking place because of the choices council has made.

"We look forward to hearing a more positive response from council next week.”