Union, council talks 'crippled'

TALKS between Toowoomba Regional Council and the unions have again broken down.

The two have been negotiating a new enterprise bargaining agreement which was due to be in place by June 30, but a spate of disagreements has derailed the talks.

The latest row centres on Toowoomba Regional Council’s refusal to guarantee that country depots would not be closed and employees would not be forcibly relocated.

Transport Workers Union Queensland secretary Peter Biagini said the stance had “crippled” negotiations.

“If council doesn’t have a slash-and-burn agenda, it should have no fear in making those guarantees,” Mr Biagini said. “But as the offer stands, drivers face the prospect of massive losses in real earnings.

“That’s a joke and no-one would take the deal if they were in the position of our drivers.”

A council spokesman said the negotiations were about delivering the best possible deal for the region and its residents. He said they were also about maintaining the council’s position as a “quality employer”.

“The majority of council staff are committed to the community and are realistic in their expectations.

“Council will not be pressured into losing focus on its priority of continually improving services and affordability to its residents by external organisers who appear once every three years.”



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