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Liverpool Council outdoor staff vote to stay on strike

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Jobs: outdoor staff outside the Liverpool Council administration building this morning.

Two hundred outdoor workers from Liverpool City Council this morning voted to continue industrial action for a sixth day over a threat to the jobs of a dozen cleaners.

The workers met at 6.30am to discuss the outsourcing plan, which will result in the loss of 12 jobs.

It follows a move earlier this year to hand over management of white collar work at the council to private company, part owned by an Indian ultinational call-centre operator.

Following the vote to continue their work stoppage for another 24 hours, the angry workers marched on the council administration building.

They resolved to meet again at 6.30am tomorrow to decide whether to return to work, or continue their protest against ongoing threats to the future of their jobs.

The United Services Union, which represents local government workers, yesterday lodged a formal dispute in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission in an attempt to bring council management to the table to resolve the escalating conflict.

USU general secretary Graeme Kelly said staff were angered by Liverpool Council’s continued refusal to meet with staff to resolve the dispute.

“After a year of attacks from management  workers at Liverpool Council are so angry that they simply feel they have no choice but to withdraw their labour in protest,” Mr Kelly said.

“The union is attempting to resolve this dispute and save these local jobs, but council management simply refuse to sit down with staff and negotiate in good faith, instead pressing ahead with their outsourcing plans, despite having no consultation with their workforce.

“It appears their only concern is with costs, and they have indicated that the quality of the work performed — or the level of customer satisfaction — won’t be taken into account.

“Earlier this year, Liverpool City Council became the first NSW local government area to decide to outsource management of their white collar employees, and they now appear to be pushing that same model on other staff, with the jobs of 12 cleaners the next on the chopping block.”

Mr Kelly said the council was using the NSW Government’s “Fit for the Future” mergers process as cover for a series of attacks on the job security of their workforce.

“The current tender process follows a decision earlier this year to enter into a “service delivery partnership’’ with Propel Partnerships, which is part owned by Indian multinational Essar,” he said.

“The experience of these models interstate and overseas is that they are used to cut jobs, which in turn results in reductions to service delivery for local ratepayers.”

The union said that while staff had been given until the end of August to present their own cleaning tender, they had grave concerns due to a council report that indicated this proposal would not be given consideration.

“What should occur before any decision is made is a proper service review, with input from our members, that can identify better ways to conduct the cleaning work so that the best possible outcome is delivered for local workers and ratepayers.”

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