Local Government workers across NSW have been assured of economically responsible pay rises for the next three years, despite the extraordinary financial challenges created by COVID-19, following months of negotiations between Local Government NSW (LGNSW) and industry unions.
LGNSW President Linda Scott hailed last Friday’s (June 26) formal approval of a new Local Government Award as an important achievement that balanced economic responsibility with the need to ensure Local Government employees’ incomes were suitably adjusted and protected.
“LGNSW undertook significant statewide consultation and engagement with all NSW member councils to form this agreement,” Cr Scott said.
“The new agreement, signed into law last week, means Local Government employees will receive a 1.5 per cent pay increase this year and a 2 per cent increase in the following two years.
“It’s a sustainable increase for councils to manage and for employees it will be an important help as they work hard to help their communities recover from unprecedented challenges of the past 12 months, including drought, bushfires and the impacts of COVID-19.
“This Award will ensure NSW councils continue to attract the best and brightest employees who will deliver a locally led recovery from COVID-19, droughts, bushfires and floods in every corner of NSW.
“The added bonus of these increases will be felt in local communities, where council employees work, and live, and supporting their local businesses, charities and communities in each town and region of our state.”
The new Local Government (State) Award 2020, which will take effect from the first full pay period on or after July 1, takes the place of the 2017 Award and covers workers employed in all aspects of council operations.
“Finding consensus on award levels is challenging at the best of times, but with the world reeling from the health and economic impacts of coronavirus, it is especially tough. So, after a program of record levels of consultation and engagement, this agreement is a major credit to councils, unions and workers to come to this arrangement,” Cr Scott said.
“While the increases are modest, they come at a time when mayors, councillors and many others are facing a freeze on their income for the immediate future or job uncertainty.
“LGNSW is proud to have played a key role in the negotiations that have led to this outcome, which ensures councils are not faced with an impossible financial challenge of paying workers, but at the same time workers receive some increase to weather these tough economic times.”
Cr Scott thanked all member councils, LGNSW staff, industry unions and the local government workforce for the tireless work behind the scenes to make the new award outcome possible.