COUNCIL’S staff cuts have taken a vicious turn after union representatives were called in to protect three administration employees.
Behind closed doors at the last council meeting, councillors agreed to convert five part-time administration positions into 2.6 full-time roles, ending an arrangement that allowed the staff members to fit their work around family life.
The chief reason behind the shake-up was to simplify the development application (DA) process; so customers would have more chance of dealing with the same person on return visits.
Council has been working on improving its pre-DA service for the past two years, with front counter staff the first port of call for applicants.
Shocked by the decision to make such unexpected changes to the department, three affected employees called the United Services Union (USU) for assistance.
USU southern region organiser Paul Wesley flew into Griffith last week in a bid to find a better outcome for the workers.
“The award says council needs to explore measures that mitigate adverse effects on the employees affected by their decision,” Mr Wesley said.
“The purpose of our meeting with council was two-fold – one was to pose questions to council and expect them to be reasonably answered and the other was for us to explain what we considered alternatives to what they’re doing.
“We believe they’re putting the cart before the horse in this situation.”
Council has committed to
undertaking a review of council’s organisation structure, assets and service provision in March next year.
Mr Wesley argued the review should have been done before any action was taken on the administration positions.
“Surely they must fully complete the review before they can look at any service level agreements between departments,” he said.
“How can you know how many staff are needed if you haven’t yet analysed all of the services you offer?”
One of the USU’s suggestions at last week’s meeting was to convert the full-time positions to a job-share arrangement.
Mr Wesley also raised the issue of finding alternative work within the organisation for those employees who were not able to continue in the altered position.
He will write a letter to council outlining his recommendations
and requests, which council
has agreed to respond to within 10 days.
Council general manager Brett Stonestreet declined to comment on the issue.