As you would be aware, late last year East Gippsland, South Gippsland, Wellington and Bass Coast Shire Councils announced that they were applying for Rural Council’s Transformation Program (RCTP) funding from the State Government to explore a shared service arrangement.

There have been different sets of information given to staff by different Councils but Bass Coast SC informed their staff that 190 FTE across the 4 Councils could be reduced to 130 FTE with a loss of 60 FTE across the 4 Councils.

Prior to the State Election last year the ASU was able to obtain a commitment from the Labor Party that they would ensure that Councils would not able to use shared services undermine worker’s pay and conditions, outsource  or reduce services.

Branch Secretary, Lisa Darmanin and Branch Executive President, Billy King met with the Minister for Local Government in February this year with this same commitment given.  There have also been further discussions with the Ministers Staff & the ASU following this meeting.

We understand that Local Government Victoria has since spoken to all Councils who have applied for the funding across regional Victoria. Most other Councils across the State have advised us that there will be no reduction in staff if their applications for RCTP funding are successful.

Whilst we are pleased that your Councils are no longer talking about a reduction in 60 FTE across the 4 Councils the best commitment they can give is that they believe that the first phase will not include any redundancies.

But there still remains many questions that the Councils are refusing to answer:

  • Will there be redundancies in Phase 2 or a later phase?
  • Are they still setting up an entity to deliver the shared services?
  • Will existing staff be forcibly transferred to the new entity?
  • Will they try and bring in a new Enterprise Agreement for the entity to undercut pay & conditions?

We have raised our concerns and sought answers on numerous occasions since last year, but it was only after we took Bass Coast SC to the Fair Work Commission in March that Councils agreed to meet with us.

ASU Officials & Delegates met with representatives of the Councils in April but they are still refusing to provide answers. We have lodged a dispute in the Fair Work Commission and are waiting for a date from the Commission. We will provide an update once we have had the conference in the Commission.

For further information please contact:
ASU Branch Coordinator Michelle Jackson | 0418 539 054 | mjackson@asuvictas.com.au

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