The City of Greater Geelong’s proposed restructure, which will see community workers losing their livelihoods, has no basis in factual evidence, says the Australian Services Union Vic Tas Branch.

The proposal to terminate 19 staff across council’s departments – staff who provide services like social housing and social equity policies, health planning, services for aged, multicultural, refugees and culturally diverse groups, planning for action on violence against women, arts, events and heritage, and a host of other vital and crucial local government services – is part of CoGG’s “Future Ways of Working Functional Map”.

Described by the council as “a high level step towards landing the structure changes we need to make to achieve the goals set out in our organisation future state Target Operating Models (TOM), and align ourselves to our new Unique Value Proposition and refined Business Model”.

This means nothing to workers losing their jobs. Council has failed to address basic principles of transparency or consultation with employees and their representative union about deciding to end their careers.

The union has lodged a dispute to challenge council’s handling of this decision. The council is long on rhetoric and consultant-speak and inadequate with its evidence for the restructure, ASU branch deputy secretary Tash Wark says.

‘The council’s CEO has sent staff a short email which contains lots of “key words” and very little hard evidence of why council is proposing these changes,’ Ms Wark says.

‘The Future Ways of Working’ document contains a lot of clip art and some nebulous ideas about “owning relationships”, “strengthening customers” and most chillingly “consolidation of like corporate functions to generate efficiencies, drive more consistent, integrated practices.”

‘The council has yet to provide staff with data for these so-called efficiencies. Why isn’t it being provided to the very staff who will bear the brunt of the cuts? It’s dangerous for Geelong City’s CEO to suggest the council is “trending into a negative underlying financial position” without providing facts to staff, and it’s appalling that, once again, staff are paying the price for executive mismanagement.

‘No-one ever sees a senior executive at the City of Greater Geelong put their hand up to admit mistakes or offer to take a pay cut. Instead there’s silence and the usual round of redundancies for people who have done nothing but serve the public.

It’s time for Council to cease their rhetoric and provide hard facts about the proposed decisions, because they affect our members’ working lives and directly impact the community. It seems the City of Greater Geelong has learned little from the 2015 Cultural Review and the 2016 Commission of Inquiry about the need for openness and transparency.’

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