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Council union members vote no confidence



A majority of United Service Union (USU) members at Wollondilly Council voted no confidence in the chief executive officer, Ben Taylor, on November 24 after he failed to meet with outdoor workers to discuss their concerns.

Rudi Oppitz, a union organiser at USU, said the workers want a meeting with the CEO to discuss their concerns of staffing ratios and programming of works

Mr Oppitz said Mr Taylor had given an assurance on November 2, to meet both the union and outdoor workers.

“Councillors and the community are now aware, he [Mr Taylor] does not have the confidence of our union members.”

Mr Oppitz said the council work crews are being stretched. He said it wasn’t uncommon for a road crew to be pulled from a job at one end of the shire to start work on another at the other end of the local government area.

“Our members have been raising concerns about work being allocated… [a crew] could get a call from a co-coordinator or manager to go to the other end of the shire and do a job.”

He said most times, they don’t finish the work they were originally sent out to do.

He send members have been confronted by community members and reiterated staff are doing a “valuable job for the community”.

Mr Oppitz said another concern was regarding staffing, with some crew members being elevated to do more senior roles, without vacancies being filled. On top of that was the issue of the increased use of contractors.

“We were forced to tell members [yesterday, November 24] the CEO did not take any undertakings to meet with staff. This created a lot of anger and a vote of no confidence.

“Our members didn’t have the confidence the CEO is going to address their issues and meet with them.

“What the union has been asking for is nothing the CEO or a director can’t resolve.

“Our members don’t do this lightly…the CEO should read the room and see the membership is not happy.”

Mr Taylor has dismissed the claims calling it a “beat up”.

“Our staff are happy, engaged and working hard to deliver for our community,” Mr Taylor said in a statement.

“It appears perhaps they’ve been provided misinformation on this issue. The information and actions requested by the union have either been completed or are already under way.

“This distraction is a waste of staff time that could have better been spent out there fixing the roads while the sun shines.”

Mr Oppitz is hoping for a meeting next week.

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