THE Australia Services Union says Vincent council could be breaching the Fair Work Act by carrying out redundancies just before a new enterprise agreement is agreed.
Negotiations for the new EA have been ongoing since 2014, when many Vincent staff feared being made redundant if the council was merged with Perth.
The EA negotiations are entering their final stretch, but before it could be voted on some employees have been offered either a redundancy, or to take up a different position (some of them with lower pay).
If the redundancies had happened after the new EA was voted in, employees would’ve got a bigger pay-out, but as it is, they’ll get the bare bones under the National Employment Scheme.
The ASU letter to Mr Kosova accuses the city of “avoidable delays” in getting the new EA voted in.
“This creates a perception that the city is now taking the opportunity in the final stages of the agreement making process to get in redundancies before a better entitlement is available to employees. This brings into question whether the city is adhering to good faith bargaining under the Fair Work Act 2009”.
The ASU requested Vincent either bring the restructure to a halt until the EA is voted in, or to give the redundant employees the proposed entitlements in the new EA.
Mr Kosova says this restructure has been a long time in the making and the timing of redundancies is not intended to disadvantage anyone.
“These are not forced redundancies,” he says.
“Every staff member that is affected is being offered redevelopment into the new restructure. In total 14 positions are affected by the changes, out of a total of 400 city employees.
“Of those 14 positions, 11 have changed enough to result in those staff having the choice of either accepting redundancy in accordance with the National Employment Standards, or redeployment into one of the many new positions being created in the new structure.
“The remaining three positions have only experienced minor changes to their position description requirements.”
He says “of the 14 positions mentioned, six of the affected staff will be moving into one of the exciting new roles, six have opted for a redundancy and two are yet to make their decision”.
He says the intention behind the restructure is to improve customer service.
Mr Kosova said some of the new roles being offered would have lower salaries, but that they’d be in line with industry standards since some staff were getting paid far above average in the local government sector, and that these changes would “more accurately grade” those positions.
Some of the staffers affected have worked at Vincent for more than a decade.
by DAVID BELL