Award 2020

Can your Council afford to lose almost 40% of its professional workforce in the next 5 years?

This is the reality facing NSW local government. When asked about their future career intentions, 38% of LGEA Award Survey respondents indicated they were likely to leave the industry within the next 5 years.

As concerning as statistics like this are, this is not ‘breaking news’. It is widely known and understood that NSW local government struggles to attract and retain key professionals - particularly younger professionals. The industry must take action that addresses the shortage of key professional occupations within the industry – this problem is not going to fix itself.

Negotiations for the Local Government (State) Award 2020 are well underway, with two full-day negotiations held to-date, and a third scheduled for Monday 2nd December. Negotiations so far have involved a thorough review and discussion on each of the four logs of claims. Key areas of interest have included discussions around training, the use of labour/agency hire and term contracts, working hours and the spread of hours.

Disappointingly, the claims put forward by LGNSW in the log of claims look to significantly erode employment conditions, with little explanation as to how this will do anything to improve the industry or address the challenges it faces. The two key claims from their log that pose the biggest threat to LGEA members is the proposal for a 38-hour working week and the deletion of the Civil Liability Allowance. Both of these claims would see LGEA members effectively working even more hours, and receiving less money for the privilege. LGEA members made it clear through our LGEA Award 2020 Survey that they were not willing to work more hours for less pay.

We have told LGNSW that, rather than increasing the already heavy workload carried by our members, we would like to address the fact that many members are already expected to work excess hours and be contactable ‘after hours’ for no additional payment. We have invited LGNSW to amend their claim, but stand ready to take this issue on should LGNSW continue to pursue a 38-hour working week for professionals.

We will also resist any attempts to remove or reduce the Civil Liability Allowance, and have instead countered this claim with our own claim for a new allowance for those engineers who may be required to be Registered Professional Engineers.

The renegotiation of the Award was the subject of a report back on Wednesday 6 November before Commissioner Murphy. Given the scope of some of the claims, the unions sought two additional dates in early 2020 for full day compulsory conferences, as well as an additional date before the Commission on Tuesday 3 December.

We will continue to keep members updated as the negotiations progress.

Download LGEA Log of Claims