Unprecedented Industrial strike action has commenced in the opal mining township of Coober Pedy today by Coober Pedy District Council workers protesting against senior management attempts to reduce Enterprise Agreement conditions. The key points in dispute are as follows:
- Attempts by management to strip terms and conditions from the Enterprise Agreement and split the workforce onto two separate Agreements;
- Attempts by managements to make drastic changes to Council policies to the detriment of the workforce;
- A culture of bullying perpetrated by management;
- The removal of vehicles from on-call operators;
- Management’s decision to hire more management employees but refuse to fill vacant positions of workers who have left the Council, purportedly on the basis that the Council does not have enough funds.
Members of the Australian Workers Union who are employed by the Council have determined to take industrial action by withdrawing their labour for 24 hours from 6:00 AM on 6 December 2017 to 6:00AM on 7 December 2017.
After this time the employees will return to work at their ordinary start times.
Branch organiser for the Australian Worker’s Union Nathan Crack said, “The Council was trying to reduce redundancy provisions before making the staff at Mini-Gems (Coober Pedy’s Child Care Centre) redundant, thus making it cheaper for the council to terminate those employees.”
“The Council is also trying to remove the recruitment and promotion process clause from the current agreement, a process which is an open and clear process for employing and promoting employees. By removing that particular clause, it will become easier for management to employ selectively outside of the legislated process”, he said.
“The Council is attempting to reduce the employee’s long service leave entitlements, something that the employees have fought and paid for in the past.”
“Management has now removed the vehicles from the on-call operators, thus increasing the response time to emergencies.
Yesterday afternoon an open letter was sent to all District Council of Coober Pedy staff, by current DCCP Works Manager Mr. Rodney Phillips
Quote: “In regards to the industrial action of withdrawing labour for a period of 24 hours from 6 a.m. on 6th December 2017 to 6 a.m. on 7th of December 2017.
The management of the District Council of Coober Pedy wish to ensure that all staff are aware in advance to this action commencing that during this industrial action staff that wish to withdraw their services will not be paid by the District Council of Coober Pedy.
Any employee who wishes to claim sick leave for this period of time is requested to supply a sick leave certificate.
The DCCP has come under constant criticism particularly in the last 12 months due to its culture of secrecy and its alleged incompetence to manage the town’s finances efficiently.
Locals believe that the town lacks leadership and has lost it’s spirit, its direction and it’s purpose and people are packing up and leaving.
The figure for local homes listed for sale is around 80 and rising.
A second petition to sack the Council and its Management was tabled in Parliament last month.
Spokesperson for the Council, Cr. Justin Freytag called in on the strike today, but did not have a comment prepared.