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Hamilton City Council must engage unions for best outcomes

October 5th, 2011

Hamilton City Council must engage unions to achieve best outcomes

The PSA is calling on Hamilton City Council to work alongside unions as it looks to slash millions of dollars from its budget.

Council is set to vote on a 10 year plan to reduce debt levels this Thursday (6th Oct).

The council has already agreed over 20 job cuts from its parks and gardens, community development and housing for the elderly units.

It’s also been proposed that the library close 1 day a week and plans are afoot to reduce capital spending over the next ten years by $500 million.

“Despite jobs and public services being under threat, the council has failed to meaningfully engage unions in what is set to be a significant change process,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“Our members have told us that they want their representatives to be meaningfully engaged with management at a high level in this process.

“Union members need to be involved in any change process because they have valuable ideas to contribute on how services can be delivered most effectively.

“We understand that staff have been asked to recommend ways of reducing costs in their individual units, but if staff don’t feel protected in this process, few will put their best ideas forward.

“Our members recognise the current changes are driven by a need for financial constraint and that union engagement in implementing necessary changes can lead to better outcomes for all parties.

“The union is well-placed to advise constructively on staff redeployment and retention of institutional knowledge, but the council has not consulted with union representatives since the PSA convened a meeting with council management and the incoming chief executive Barry Harris in May.

“In some units, for example libraries and the zoo, members of council management have informed PSA representatives of proposals, but our understanding is that members in other units were not consulted prior to senior management’s recommendations being presented to Hamilton councillors at the annual plan hearings.

“We call on the council to work constructively with us and our members through this difficult process so that the best outcomes can be achieved not only for the employer and staff but for the community at large,” says Richard Wagstaff.


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