By Khiara Elliott
The Australian Services Union (ASU) held a protest outside the town hall in late September over the City of Melbourne’s (CoM) failure to meet and agree on a new enterprise agreement (EA) for staff.
ASU organiser Ty Lockwood said he felt the need to take further action after the union offered to meet with management every day in the lead up to the AFL grand final weekend, but to no avail.
“We have reached out to meet in our attempt to further negotiations before any planned industrial action commenced this week,” Mr Lockwood said.
Workers and protestors gathered outside town hall armed with posters of acting CEO Martin Cutter’s head superimposed onto Edward Scissorhands’s body, naming him “Martin Cutter-hands”. Other signs condemned his “slashing” of entitlements.
Acting CEO Martin Cutter told CBD News he felt the ASU’s claims on the impact of industrial action over seven days of work bans were overstated.
“The impact of the work bans to the CoM’s direct parking infringement revenue is nowhere near the $250,000 per day estimated by the ASU,” he said.
It seems, however, that the protest and bans have got the ball rolling on negotiations, with the enterprise agreement now being discussed.
“Following nine weeks of negotiations with bargaining representatives, negotiations have concluded and the full proposed enterprise agreement is now being considered by our employees,” Mr Cutter said. The mob then took to the streets, walking along Swanston St, from Bourke St to Flinders St, causing disruption to tram services, an annoyance Mr Lockwood sympathised with but said he felt was necessary.
“The ASU and its members apologise to all people affected by the protest, but we feel this is one of the few ways we have to get management’s attention,” he explained.
Mr Lockwood continued to encourage the public affected to join his cause and contact CoM with complaints.
“Any affected people can contact CoM CEO Martin Cutter or Lord Mayor Robert Doyle to convince them to get this EA finalised and limit any more industrial action affecting the city,” Mr Lockwood said.
Mr Lockwood said ASU staff had “universally” rejected a sub-standard offer put forward by management. As a result, industrial action has continued.