Wollongong council cuts: Union weighs in

The United Services Union says Wollongong City Council employees will "do what they need to do" to protect their jobs after councillors moved to save $4.5 million through "efficiencies".

Although he stopped short of confirming further industrial action, USU Southern Branch industrial officer Greg Golledge said workers and union members were "prepared".

"The union, along with council employees, will do what they need to do to protect jobs and the welfare of its members," Mr Golledge said.

The cash-strapped council voted on Monday night to bump up revenue to be raised from "efficiencies" to $4.5 million - $500,000 more than the budget option recommended by council staff.

The savings, in addition to an annual rate rise of 6.63 per cent until 2017, aim to address recommendations made by the citizens review panel last year.

In November, the review prompted a mass demonstration, with about 300 workers protesting against the proposed cuts.

Efficiencies could include outsourcing, changes to staffing levels and reviewing workers' industrial agreements.

However, Mr Golledge said council was yet to "spell out" just what sort of action would be taken.

"We don't know where the general manager may find his efficiencies but we know generally what happens," he said.

"They look at the area of wages, staff cuts and things like that.

"We'll be preparing ourselves and delegates on the ground to deal with those issues as they arise."

Mr Golledge said that based on what had been observed at other councils in similar positions, he expected that retiring staff would not be replaced.

"They don't replace them, which just puts more burden on other staff," Mr Golledge said.

"Council is one of the biggest employers in the area ... given the steelworks have shrunk and shrunk over time."


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