STAFF at the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre are fearing for their jobs, says the Community and Public Sector Union.
A union spokesman said kitchen services at the justice centre were about to be privatised, resulting in up to 12 jobs losses. A further 11 jobs are at risk after the Department of Human Services yesterday announced its youth justice health services would also be privatised.
A letter sent to the union by the DHS said there was no requirement for the new employer to hire the kitchen staff and couldn’t guarantee they would be rehired.
The union spokesman said the staff had been left in limbo. “They’re worried about what the future holds for them,” he said. “The government is effectively making them redundant, sacking them.
“We’re not sure why the Baillieu government hates its rural constituents so much.”
He said the new kitchen contract was likely to start in March.
A person close to the matter, who asked to remain anonymous, said there had been five date changes to the new contract starting. “Staff have been unable to leave or move on, otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten our packages,” they said.
“The staff are quite upset and distraught.
“Some people may lose their house because this is their only form of employment, and jobs aren’t easy to come by in rural areas.
“They’ll probably have to reapply for the jobs, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be employed.”
A spokesman for the DHS said the kitchen staff had been kept informed of the contract changes and would receive support if they lost their jobs.
“Staff have the opportunity to negotiate employment opportunities with the new provider,” she said. “In accordance with industrial provisions, the end of employment date will be three months from the start of the new contracted service.
“Staff will be notified in writing of end of their employment date shortly.
“Ongoing staff will be provided job-seeking support and assistance, and offered training as appropriate.”
The DHS yesterday told the union it would look for bidders for heath service work and said all 11 employees would be considered for jobs by a new provider.