Bendigo council staff ‘fear for jobs’

City of Greater Bendigo council staff fear they will lose their jobs and have contacted the Australian Services Union with their concerns, ASU organiser Danny Harris says. 

Mr Harris said about a dozen City of Greater Bendigo staff had contacted him with fears over the council’s independent review, which will look at six areas of the organisation including staffing. 

“They don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. 

“That’s the biggest question, why are they doing this, why is there someone who doesn’t know what we do reviewing us? 

“They’re extremely concerned.” 

Mr Harris said local councils reviewed their operations on a regular basis and that senior managers reviewed staff, making the independent review unnecessary. 

“The staff say they’re ratepayers too and wonder how they can find $250,000 for a review when we see services like the Long Gully pool closing,” he said.

“And they say it’s a waste of time, duplicating a process that is already under way. 

“The next step is that I’ll be officially contacting the council and mayor with our concerns and we’re insisting we be part of this and make sure our members’ voices are heard.” 

Bede Payne, Victorian director of the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia, said the union shared the ASU’s concerns but would wait for more information from the council. But mayor Lisa Ruffell said the review was an open and transparent process and that staff and the unions could participate. 

“The council always consults the unions and staff about any major changes,” she said. 

“I think it’s far too early to speculate about any findings.

“We’ve spoken to staff and encourage them to discuss any concerns about the review to their supervisors. 

“We’ve been so open and transparent about this that I don’t know why the union is doing this.”

Cr Ruffell said staff hadn’t raised any concerns with managers or councillors. 

“I think the union has gone a little bit overboard on this issue because we haven’t heard anything from staff,” she said. 

“We might find we need more staff in an area. It’s about looking at the big picture.” 

The council will seek tenders for a consultant from Saturday.


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