Taswater employees concerned over potential jobs cuts: CEPU

TasWater's pumping station on Margaret Street.
TasWater's pumping station on Margaret Street.

TasWater employees have expressed concern over the potential losses of 94 jobs statewide.

The Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union of Australia says it was contacted by hundreds of its members from TasWater on Thursday regarding an email sent to the company after work on Wednesday.

“Workers are concerned TasWater intends to proceed with the termination of 94 workers next week without having followed the legal processes contained in their enterprise agreement,” CEPU state secretary Trevor Gauld said.

“Last week the company guaranteed employees they would be provided information and be allowed to meet with union representatives to help them respond to the companies proposal.”

However it’s believed a staff meeting has been called for next Thursday to detail the job losses.

A TasWater spokesman did not confirm the job losses.

“A meeting called by a union this afternoon and attended by some TasWater staff was in contravention of the Fair Work Act. TasWater is continuing its consultation with staff over the process to deliver improved productivity," the spokesman said.

“We are talking with staff about a number of proposed initiatives and how we minimise the impact on our co-workers and have invited unions to participate in that discussion.”

Mr Gauld said union representatives met with workers at TasWater’s Moonah depot on Thursday that revealed more concerns waste at the top was being ignored while frontline jobs and services were being cut.

“The employees that have contacted us are extremely angry, they believe they haven’t been consulted.”

“We are doing our best to support members but we are concerned the company’s actions are forcing people to take matters into their own hands. We have made repeated requests to the CEO Mike Brewster to meet and discuss these issues but our requests are simply ignored.”

The TasWater spokesman said the company had provided staff with data that was used to arrive at the proposed initiatives with meetings scheduled next week to provide the opportunity for further discussion.

“During consultation it is premature and not appropriate to discuss any outcomes relating to the impact on employee’s or operations.”

Opposition Leader Bryan Green called on TasWater to immediately cease its plan to shed jobs.

“In order to head off the Government's takeover attempts, TasWater should be keeping the faith by retaining its current workforce. The one thing the Government and Opposition agree on is that TasWater has a lot of work to do over the next few years,” Mr Green said.