Union wants detail on water worker reforms
The ACT’s Government-owned utility Icon Water has been accused of sacking workers because they are too old.
But Icon Water rejects the claims that it is making people redundant based on their age, amid an ongoing ‘restructure’ that will see up to 50 positions culled.
The Professionals Australia union's ACT director David Smith says Icon Water will not reveal what motives are informing the restructure.
He wants ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr to intervene and find out more about the trimming of the workforce.
“We have been asking Icon Water how the restructure and reductions in staffing delivers safe and effective water outcomes for the people of Canberra and the region,” Mr Smith told Fairfax this week.
“They have not been able to provide an answer for the last two months.
“This is the third major restructure in as many years and the organisation stands to lose significant water treatment and quality expertise at the same time as the asset base is both growing and ageing.
“You can't replace senior engineers with 15-20 years experience without increasing the risk profile of the organisation. There is a lack of transparency in the reasons for the reductions and in the selection of staff for roles.”
He said age appeared to be working against some employees, despite their expertise.
A spokesperson for Icon Water spokesperson said it had no obligation to provide “commercially sensitive” information to the union.
“Icon Water has met all of its obligations under the terms of the Icon Water Ltd and Combined Unions Enterprise Agreement 2014, including those regarding consultation,” the spokesperson said.
“Icon Water will fill vacant roles on the basis of merit, considering the employees' knowledge, skills and experience.
“Every effort is made to redeploy affected staff both within Icon Water itself and within its affiliates.”
Icon Water says it must continue to be flexible in the face of external pressures.
“It is vitally important that the organisation evolves to continue its focus on providing quality water and wastewater services at a sustainable price for our customers.”