Lake council staff pass vote of no confidence

LAKE Macquarie council staff have passed a vote of no confidence in councillors and senior management at a union meeting today.

United Services Union organisers said more than 300 staff at the meeting had unanimously supported the course of action.

Organiser Luke Hutchinson said members held major job security concerns due to council restructuring of services including libraries and green waste collection.

‘‘It seems to be in every part of the council almost there’s a threat of job losses,’’ Mr Hutchinson said.

‘‘The members have basically just had enough.’’

The mass meeting was the first gathering of its type for Lake Macquarie City Council employees in 17 years.

It went ahead despite an urgent NSW Industrial Relations Commission hearing yesterday, which Mr Hutchison said had placed limitations on members for today’s gathering.

Lake Macquarie City Council issued a statement supporting its employees’ right to meet, citing a history of supporting similar meetings ‘‘where they have had minimal impact on productivity and Council’s ability to deliver services’’.

The council also said it respected the commission’s decision to allow the meeting to proceed but maintained previous arrangements would have been as effective.

‘‘Council has been in continuous discussion with staff on all matters heard at today’s meeting and will continue to be so,’’ the statement said.

‘‘Lake Macquarie City Council has become financially secure, with projects and plans in place for the short-term and long-term, because of the healthy relationship between Council’s staff and its leadership, and the constant dialogue they share.’’

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery has thrown her support behind staff’s decision to raise their concerns through the full-scale meeting.

‘‘Council has already outsourced waste services and other core services such as library, cleaning and pool services may well be up for grabs,’’ Ms Hornery said.

‘‘I am most concerned that this trend of outsourcing services will lead to job losses and job insecurity, and a decline in the quality of service provision.’’

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