IRC endorses Council return to work agreement

Published on 04 July 2019

Blacktown City Council has welcomed the decision by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission to endorse an agreement between Council and the United Services Union that will result in the resumption of work.

The United Services Union (USU) called a stoppage of work for outdoor staff yesterday over the use of Glyphosate (a herbicide used in certain weedkillers).

Under the agreement Council will implement a trial of a viable alternate weed control product. Council has previously offered to undertake such a trial.

The trial will involve one of Council’s crews using the alternate product. Other crews will continue to use the Glyphosate-based product under strict conditions in accordance with the label directions.

The trial will be monitored by Council’s Work, Health and Safety Representative Committee.

Council welcomed Commissioner Webster’s statement that she recognised that Council has a strong and active Work, Health and Safety Representative Committee.

Blacktown City Mayor Stephen Bali MP said: “We place the safety of our staff and the community as our highest priority.

“Council has consulted with staff and unions on the use of Glyphosate extensively.

“Council is continually monitoring the situation and will act according to the recommendations of the regulator and on the findings that result from the trial.

“We have agreed to trialling viable alternatives. What is important for everyone to understand is that Council will not place employees or members of the public at risk,” Mayor Bali said.

Council is guided in this by the relevant regulatory authority, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

The APVMA states that:

•           Glyphosate is safe for humans, animals and the environment when used according to label directions

•           No regulatory agency in the world considers Glyphosate to be a carcinogen

•           The APVMA does not expect any significant changes to the registration of Glyphosate in Australia.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service use Glyphosate-based weed control measures throughout national parks in Sydney.

Residents affected by the stoppage have been asked to leave their bins at the kerb until collection occurs.