Council workers in 'fiery protest'
TALKS between Toowoomba Regional Council and the unions will recommence today with the sounds of “liar” and “four per cent for all” still echoing through the halls of City Hall.
About 200 workers yesterday downed their tools for four hours and gathered on the Village Green in Ruthven St for a workers’ rally.
They were protesting what they claim is an unfair offer made by Toowoomba Regional Council as part of ongoing Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiations.
Unions want pay rises of 4%, no forced redundancies and a commitment from council that no depots would be closed.
Toowoomba Regional Council claims it cannot afford the 4% increase, due in part to the impact on its finances caused by an $85 million flood damage bill.
“The offer they’ve given us stinks,” Queensland Services Union organiser Peter Ryan told the crowd.
Transport Workers Union organiser Brendan Bogle accused council management of “lying” by claiming its workers were overpaid.
“It’s not true; it’s incorrect,” he said.
Workers shouted “liar” in the direction of CEO Ken Gouldthorp’s office and at one stage considered storming City Hall.
They accused council management of being “not family friendly, not worker friendly”.
Despite the fiery protest, a Toowoomba Regional Council spokesman said council remained committed to negotiating for the best outcome for ratepayers and its workforce.
“Toowoomba Regional Council has already made an offer to the union negotiators of guaranteed job security, significant increases in allowances and 11% salary increase over three years,” the spokesman said.
“This is the maximum that the community can afford and the strike involving 200 of council’s 1600 employees does not change this situation.”