West Wimmera Shire changes upset staff

WEST Wimmera Shire employees have passed a vote of no confidence in chief executive Mark Crouch and general manager Venkat Peteti.

Australian Services Union organiser Mark Brady said employees at the shire felt there was a lack of process throughout the restructure of the family and community services area, which could potentially cost employees their jobs.

"The feeling at the shire was one of fear," he said.

"Management was found to be in breach of the proper restructuring processes under the current enterprise agreement."

He said employees at an urgent meeting on Thursday passed the vote of no confidence.

He said 95 per cent of staff voted in favour of the decision.

"Management failed to consult employees on planned redundancies, and some workers also face the reality of being put on a lower pay scale, despite years of service," he said.

"This type of exploitation is unacceptable."

Mr Brady said the union spoke to Mr Peteti on Wednesday.

He said Mr Peteti failed to acknowledge any possible wrongdoing or breach, which had led to growing concerns among staff at the shire.

"There's genuine fear that if certain sections of management are already working outside the boundaries of the enterprise agreement, then this sort of behaviour could continue into the future," he said.

"We call on West Wimmera Shire management to maintain a level of transparency during such processes, especially considering the livelihoods of workers at the council are at stake."

Mr Crouch said he was reviewing aspects of service delivery in family and community services.

"We are looking at how we can improve service delivery in this important area of our operations," he said.

He said he and Mr Peteti would meet with the union this week.

"This is part of the normal processes to facilitate any changes," Mr Crouch said.

"I am aware there was a union meeting and recognise unions have their role to play in these matters.

"Making organisational changes is never easy, but councils like any organisation must look at how they operate and if there are improved ways to deliver these services, I have an obligation to consider the same.

"Given we are working through an industrial matter, looking at options, and in fairness to staff involved I would like to leave it at this and comment no further."

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