No assurances for water workers
WIDE Bay Water board chairwoman Leith Boully has pleaded with Mayor Gerard O'Connell to treat all employees fairly after it was revealed 30 jobs could be slashed when council decides on the future of the water utility.
"I am very concerned for the staff at Wide Bay Water Corporation whose lives and livelihoods are likely to be affected," Ms Boully said.
Her words came after Fraser Coast Regional Council released the findings of an independent review of Wide Bay Water, which claimed up to $4 million could be saved in a restructure.
The report, by the AEC Group, recommended the organisation become a commercialised business unit, which would see council take greater control of WBW.
Ms Boully said while she had not had the chance to read the full report, she had called on Cr O'Connell to step up and ensure the employees would be treated well.
"I have sought a commitment from the Mayor that the employees of WBWC will be treated fairly and equitably along with employees of the council," she said.
She asked that any positions within WBW and the council, agreed to be duplications, be declared vacant.
She further requested the employees be invited to apply for the consolidated positions and the subsequent appointments be based on merit, rather than whether the applicant was from council or WBW.
But Cr O'Connell said he would not be making any such commitment until a decision on WBW's future was made in November, after the public consultation process.
He said it would be "unhelpful and inappropriate" to do so.
Ms Boully condemned the Mayor's response.
"I'm very disappointed because it's not a difficult commitment to make, to treat people fairly and with equity," she said.
According to Ms Boully, the 216 WBW staff members had been left unsettled and nobody knew which jobs were at stake.
"We don't know any of those details yet," she said, but vowed to have the WBW management team examine the report and its findings of $4 million in duplicated costs.
"I will be seeking details as to how the mooted $4 million savings were identified, the detail of what they are and what level of analysis was done to ensure they are in fact true duplications and not duplications in name only."
She said the best model for WBW to operate under was its current form, as a local government-owned corporation.
Cr O'Connell said he did not know what sectors the job cuts would affect, as the report did not go into those details.
He invited the staff and unions to make submissions on the WBW Public Benefit Assessment, which can be viewed on council's website until October 17.