Alpine Shire wage freeze to save jobs
Preferred option instead of more job losses
ALPINE councillors want an extra $600,000 taken out of the wage bill.
But the council, who has undergone significant restructuring in recent years and cut staff by about a third, will look to get agreement on a wage freeze rather than revert to redundancy packages.
Councillors made the call in handing down their final budget.
The latest decision comes as the Alpine Council this week begins negotiations on a three-year enterprise bargain agreement for staff wages.
Chief executive Dave Barry said preliminary discussions with staff suggested that a wage freeze was possible.
“We are in a position that no other council in the state can lay claim to – we can guarantee jobs well into the future because of the tough decisions we’ve made in recent years,” he said.
“Council had initially asked that we cut $ 1.5 million from wage and salary costs and we were able to surpass that and in turn deliver the lowest rate rise in Victoria this year and the third lowest last year.
“And because the workforce was reduced by more than 1/3 means we are uniquely positioned to have this conversation.
“Our preference is a staff wage freeze and let natural attrition take its course rather than a voluntary redundancy program.”
Mr Barry said some council staff were paid up to 36 per cent above the award.
“We are in conversations with staff on how we can achieve the next round of savings without implementing redundancies and I’m confident that as an organisation we can get to that point without shedding jobs,” he said.
“I believe we have an incredible and committed staff and any discussion around a wage freeze must include them – we have learned it’s important to not just consult but to listen.
“Previous staff reviews have focused on indoor staff but the current process takes in the organisation in its entirety.
“There will be a number of options on the table when we sit down to discuss the EBA but that process needs to reach a mutual agreement that is in the best interests of staff and the community.”