Coun­cil job cut fears as dead­line ar­rives

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Natalie Wynne wynne@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.’’

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