SILENT: Lockyer Valley Regional Council is remaining tight-lipped on just how many staff will lose their jobs in an effort to reduce spending. Picture: Dominic Elsome
SILENT: Lockyer Valley Regional Council is remaining tight-lipped on just how many staff will lose their jobs in an effort to reduce spending. Picture: Dominic Elsome

Council leaves union in the dark on ‘disastrous’ job cuts

THE union representing council workers has labelled job cuts at Lockyer council as a “disaster”.

On Tuesday, the Lockyer Valley Regional Council adopted a new organisational structure.

Services Union secretary Neil Henderson said the union had been made aware of the impending job cuts “some weeks ago”, and said it was blow for both workers and ratepayers.

“It’s a disaster for the local community,” Mr Henderson said.

In a concerning twist, it’s been revealed the union has been left in the dark by the council about the numbers and positions set to be axed.

READ MORE: Council confirms workers will lose jobs

Mr Henderson told the Gatton Star the union had responded quickly to the council’s letter informing of impending cuts, asking for further details, but in the weeks since there had been no response.

“We’re still waiting to hear back from them,” he said.

Queensland Secretary of The Services Union Neil Henderson said the union had been left in the dark by the council on how many jobs were set to go. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN
Queensland Secretary of The Services Union Neil Henderson said the union had been left in the dark by the council on how many jobs were set to go. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN

The council has been tight-lipped on how many jobs will be axed, despite being asked for a figure by the Gatton Star on multiple occasions.

But in a statement, People and Culture Portfolio Councillor Brett Qualischefski revealed 15 jobs had already been axed in early cuts, including five managers and 10 hospitality staff.

“A very small number of further reductions are likely subject to discussions with relevant unions and staff,” Mr Qualischefski said.

READ MORE: New structure to save council $2.5 million in wage costs

The council has estimated the restructure and subsequent reduction in staff will save the council $2.5 million in wage costs a year.

Using that figure, Mr Henderson estimated at least 20 jobs would be cut, and said without a response from the council to the union’s questions, the union was in the dark as to the actual number.

On top of a devastating blow to workers losing their job during a recession and the economic turmoil caused by coronavirus, he said ratepayers would be worse off as well.

He said the number of staff be let go would mean a “substantial” amount of work and service would not be able to be completed.

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Council CEO Ian Church admitted during the special meeting the changes would result in a reduction of services offered by the council.

“(It’s) a significant saving and, yes, associated with that is some reduction in service level and we see that around some of the things we’ve moved out of in terms of regional development and obviously the Staging Post (cafe),” Mr Church said.

The Gatton Star put the question to the council why it had failed to respond to the union’s inquiries, and if those at the council agreed with Mr Henderson’s comments.

A council spokesperson issued this statement in response:

“Council has and will continue to follow due process in relation to the organisational restructure process including regular consultation with relevant unions.”


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