Union takes up pay fight

LISMORE City Council has been given one week by the United Services Union to confirm whether it will provide 18 months back pay for 110 Richmond Tweed Library Service staff.

In July 2010, Lismore City Council took control of 12 libraries and employees were supposed to move onto a higher pay rate - but they didn't.

United Services Union organiser Craig Chandler said he had been in negotiations with the council but did not want to pre-empt its response to a letter sent recently requesting back pay.

The council's manager finance, Rino Santin, was also tight-lipped about the situation and declined to comment while the council was negotiating with the union.

Ballina Shire councillor Jeff Johnson declined to comment on the back pay issue beyond saying the concern surrounding it was an example of Lismore City Council's overall hand- ling of the Richmond Tweed Library Service.

"According to (former library director) Martin Field and the latest fig- ures, service levels have dropped and costs have increased. They're not buying enough resources and spending per capita has dropped," he said.

Ballina Shire Council resolved to support Lismore as the library network's administrative council at a recent meeting. However, Cr Johnson said he'd prefer a county council library system where several councils could have a say on how the libraries are managed.

"We also have Don Page, the Local Government Minister, coming out in support of a county council system," he said.

Cr Johnson said councils were under contract with Lismore City Council and could not implement such a system at present.



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