Unions in talks with Wide Bay Water over staff conditions

WIDE Bay Water staff are questioning their job security and may soon see their employment conditions change as Fraser Coast Council continues to pursue control of the corporation.

The corporation met with at least five separate unions on Friday as it tries to bring its employment conditions in line with the council.

Services Union acting assistant branch secretary Neil Henderson said the discussions were essentially enterprise bargaining.

The SU represents WBW's salaried employees, those most at risk of losing their positions in a takeover.

"It's having a significant impact on our members," Mr Henderson said.

He said the talks were with the corporation and its board, but under direction from the council as WBW's sole shareholder.

"It is a very unusual predicament we face here," Mr Henderson said.

"I don't think I've seen anything like it."

Mr Henderson said WBW was expected to respond to requests from the unions by mid-next week.

He said the only direct contact the unions have had with the council was a joint letter a few weeks ago.

The council has been trying to turn Wide Bay Water from a local government-owned corporation into a commercialised business unit of the council since last November.

Their decision was based on a report that identified 30 duplicated jobs between Wide Bay Water and the council, mostly across administration and management.

Former WBW chair Danny Mattsson and deputy chair Raymond Tatnell said Fraser Coast Council's the uncertainty around WBW's fate had led to high levels of stress among employees.

"Everyone is pretty shattered," Mr Mattsson said. "You can't describe it."

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said earlier this week staff had been heavily involved in the takeover and shared service agreements between WBW and the council.

He said the council had tried to give surety to both WBW and affected council staff throughout the process.

Cr O'Connell said the best step for staff was to provide clear and concise messages on the future of WBW.



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