City under fire as staff speak out
More than 100 City of Albany staff have resigned in the past 12 months, prompting claims failed negotiations between the City and the Australian Services Union is impacting on the morale of staff.
The revelations came as staff claimed the City had millions in high-risk offshore accounts and spent thousands of dollars on external agency fees last year. City of Albany employees, who are usually silenced by their code of conduct, are undertaking protected industrial actions that allow them to talk to councillors and the media.
The action relates to the inside workers’ workplace agreement, which the City and ASU have been unable to agree on for the past two years.
ASU delegate and staff representative Robbie Monck said the parties had reached an in-principle agreement over the employees’ pay increase in April last year but the City was now backing down because it “could not afford it”.
Mr Monck said staff struggled to comprehend this excuse because they understood the City had $3 million in high-risk offshore accounts, spent $236,000 in external agency fees from July 28 to October 13 and spent $70,000 on legal representation over the course of negotiations.
While the City denied the information about offshore accounts, it defended the use of external resources as necessary to maintaining services.
Acting chief executive Linda Hill also confirmed 112 employees had resigned from the City last year, including four from the works and service department in the last three months of 2011.
“In 2011, there were five redundancies offered, some staff went on extended leave and 112 people resigned citing a mixture of reasons,” she said.
Executive director of planning and development services Graeme Bride was one of the recent resignations, leaving two of the City’s four senior executive positions vacant, with the other two filled by acting directors.
Ms Hill warned union members to take their responsibility of communicating to the public over the bargaining campaign seriously.
“It is not appropriate that comments made and materials distributed by ASU members as part of the industrial action contain inaccurate and incorrect information regarding City operations,” she said.
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