Brisbane City Council staff back to work after employer backtracks
An almost three week lock out of Brisbane City Council (BCC) electricians has ended with staff returning to work following the employer’s withdrawal of a demand to introduce family-unfriendly flexible rostering as part of a new collective agreement.
ETU Queensland and NT Organiser Brenton Muller said the 21 traffic signal electricians who were locked out of work without pay by Council since May 28 returned to work last week after the Council withdrew the demand, which would have seen workers forced to work any day of the week, at any time.
Mr Muller said the demand would have had such an impact on the electricians’ personal lives that they were willing to sacrifice pay for more than two weeks to see it removed.
He said the Council collapsed under the pressure of the members’ collective fight for their right to maintain their current working conditions under the threat of having rostering imposed that would have turned their family lives upside down.
“These members spent nearly three weeks fighting not only for their own rights, but the rights of more than 5000 Brisbane City Council workers who also faced the same attack from Brisbane City Council management.
Mr Muller said the electricians returned to work as a sign of good faith, as they continue to bargain with the Council on their new collective agreement.
“All Council workers and unionists can be proud of the efforts of these workers, in what is a win for the little guy.”
BCC’s back down follows Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union members giving notice that they were set to join the action, which would have seen a further 200 workers off the job.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said this win for ETU members reinforced the power of the collective to give voice to serious employee concerns – especially those related to health and safety issues and family friendly working conditions.
“These members are to be commended for their solidarity and resolve,” Mr Burke said.
“In the face of such shameful treatment by their employer, these members remained strong as a collective in order to have their voice heard and stand up against a blatant attack on their working conditions,” Mr Burke said.