THE Launceston City Council has defended its position in sacking an employee with 62 years of service amid heat from the Australian Services Union.
The union claims that the decision to fire rural roads co-ordinator David Flynn for breaching safety protocols was made in a bid to avoid paying a full redundancy.
ASU Victoria-Tasmania organiser Kath Ryman said the union was calling on the council to reinstate Mr Flynn before undertaking a ‘‘fair investigation into safety procedures at council’’.
‘‘The problem is that council have failed to genuinely investigate and consider evidence that was provided by the ASU to show that the same practices that constituted David’s alleged safety breaches are commonly used practices across the organisation,’’ Ms Ryman said.
‘‘Despite some denial from council, we believe that a review of the rural roads crew recommended that David’s position as rural roads co-ordinator position be made redundant.’’
Launceston general manager Robert Dobryznski said he was unable to provide details of Mr Flynn’s termination, but that the council held a legal responsibility to ensure safe work practices.
‘‘The council also has a legal obligation to take decisive action – however difficult it may be in the circumstances – to address repeated instances of unsafe work practices, particularly when numerous attempts have been made to provide support and training,’’ Mr Dobryznski said.
‘‘While dismissal is extremely disappointing and a last resort, the potential for injury or loss of life of employees makes it imperative that safety standards are enforced.
‘‘In cases where we are forced to take this course of action, we follow a robust and procedurally fair process and the employee is provided with reasons behind the decision that has led to termination.’’
Ms Ryman said the decision was made on the back of a restructure of the council’s infrastructure services directorate, and that four redundancies were offered to employees in the Parks Services area.
‘‘These workers were given the option to apply for new, very similar positions, but the application process for these new positions required an unnecessary medical assessment to be undertaken,’’ she said.
‘‘Some of these workers had previous workplace injuries sustained during their years of dedicated service to council, so they reluctantly chose to take the redundancy, fearing council would discriminate and use the results of the medical assessment against them.’’