Strong measures needed to maintain jobs and services in Northland amalgamation plan

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The Public Service Association says any move to merge local bodies in Northland must include strong measures to maintain jobs and retain quality local services.

The Local Government Commission has just released its draft reorganisation proposal for Northland which would see the four regional councils merged into one large Northland Council based in Whangarei, with seven local community boards and service centres throughout the region.

The PSA is the largest union representing local government workers and says the way any change is implemented must be carefully considered.

“The proposal clearly states that redundancies are envisaged.  That will impact on workers and their families but will also affect regional development by taking good jobs out of some of those communities which need them the most,” says PSA Assistant Secretary Warwick Jones.

“We know from our extensive involvement in the Auckland Council amalgamation that the transition process is critical and it’s an area the Local Government Commission has not yet properly addressed.”

“Staff need to have meaningful input into how services and jobs are designed.  It also needs to be made clear that all efforts will be made to retain staff, current employment contracts and conditions will be honoured, there will be no forced relocations, and that all staff are properly supported through any change,” he says.

The PSA wants to make sure that if the proposal does go ahead, it is handled and implemented in the best and fairest way possible to council workers and the communities they serve.

It will be engaging with the Local Government Commission on a number of issues and will be making a full submission on the draft proposal on behalf of its members.