Low-Paid ACT Workers Get Pay Increase After Union Push


Canberra’s lowest-paid General Service Officers (GSOs) will see their pay increase from $50,925 to $68,266 over three years after they voted up a deal presented by the ACT Government today following a long union campaign. GSOs are the ACT equivalent of council workers performing roles across Canberra’s public spaces including cleaning (including public toilets), gardening, and a variety of trades and technical roles. The CFMEU had argued their work was being severely undervalued by the ACT Government, and a rally of over 500 GSOs marched on parliament in December. Further industrial action had been voted for by members and planned for this year. This morning, however, a meeting of GSOs at the Canberra Racetrack endorsed the latest deal offered by the Territory Government. The deal will see the pay of the lowest band of GSOs increase by over 10 per cent each year over the three years of the agreement, while other bands will receive annual increases of between eight to 12 per cent. “This deal is testament to the courage and determination of GSOs who knew they deserved a better a deal and were prepared to fight for it through their union,” said ACT CFMEU Secretary Zach Smith. “Without GSOs Canberra would disintegrate into chaos. They do tough and often dirty jobs to make this city liveable for the rest of us. When over 500 of them downed tools and marched on Parliament in December I think that made everyone sit up and take notice. “When GSOs voted to take further industrial action it was very brave and I believe pivotal in expediting the excellent outcome we have secured today. It’s a result that once again shows the best weapon against inequality is union membership. “I also want to thank the ACT Government for being consultative and responsive. When we started this campaign the government was very quick to acknowledge there was a problem and we have appreciated the negotiations we have had with them. Under this Labor government workers know they will always be dealing with an ethical employer trying to do the right thing. That’s a far better equation than workers often have in other states and territories.”

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