Council job cut fears as deadline arrives
UNIONS f ear Townsville City Council workers’ jobs will be lost when a three-year moratorium on s ackings ends today.
It is understood some council workers were told yesterday afternoon their services were no longer required.
When the Thuringowa and Townsville councils merged, the State Government ordered that all employees of both bodies would be safe from redundancy for at least three years.
That order expires today. Council’s corporate services director Kim Corrie said the council had made a lot of tough decisions since amalgamation.
‘‘ Over the past three years the council has reviewed the structure of every department across the organisation to achieve the best results for efficient service delivery to the community,’’ she said.
‘‘ These changes have included cutting 24 executive staff positions and ensuring staffing and resources are being properly targeted to the delivery of services on the ground.’’
Ms Corrie refused to say if there would be any forced redundancies after the jobs moratorium expired today.
‘‘ We will continue to seek greater efficiencies in the delivery of our services to our community and in doing so will continue to review our staffing levels together with other areas of expenditure,’’ she said.
‘‘ The council has also been very conscious of the need to maintain a highly motivated and well equipped workforce in the field to meet the city’s growth and we believe we have done that.’’
The Australian Workers Union state vice-president Cowboy Stockham said the moratorium’s end meant workers should be cautious.
‘‘ We will be monitoring this situation because the job security of our members comes first and foremost,’’ he said.
‘‘ I don’t think it’s going to have any major impact on our members – let’s face it, with the damage from Yasi and the floods, they need people to do the work.
‘‘ We believe our workers should have security in their employment because t he workload of council has not decreased, but increased.’’
Australian Services Union r egional organiser Steve Rodgers said they would also be keeping an eye on the situation.
‘‘ There are still concerns among staff,’’ he said.
‘‘ We hope and we believe that most local authorities will be certainly not looking to reduce the size of the workforce.’’
Mr Rodgers said the effect of job losses would be felt by all members of the Townsville community.
‘‘ The impact on the community will be a cutback in services for people,’’ Mr Rodgers said.
‘‘ What’s happened throughout North Queensland has reinforced the need to maintain a strong workforce.
‘‘ It’s a wait-and-see process, we have an agreement in place until September, we will start fresh negotiations soon.’’