Comms Dept studies alternatives to ‘spill and fill’ staff cuts

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Comms Dept studies alternatives to ‘spill and fill’ staff cuts

Union meetings held this week.

The Department of Communications has met with the Community and Public Sector Union this week to discuss alternatives to the ‘spill and fill’ approach it has taken to the slashing of 25 percent of its workforce.

A spokeswoman confirmed to iTnews the department is currently “working to finalise a position” on the agency restructure, following a series of meetings in which the CPSU pitched alternative measures to meet staff reductions.

The spokesperson refused to be drawn on when a decision was likely to be made.

The department advised its employees late last month it would need to reduce its workforce by up to 25 percent, revealing that most of its 550 staff would be asked to re-apply for their jobs as part of the process.

The CPSU told iTnews it used the meetings to push for the adoption of a voluntary redundancy scheme over what it described as a destructive re-application process.

“If the department’s budget position means job cuts have to occur, then using voluntary mechanisms to achieve the reduction is best for the staff and the department,” CPSU deputy national president Alistair Waters said.

“Making staff compete against each other for their own jobs does lasting damage to organisations and to the employees affected,” he said. “These impacts are not limited to the staff who miss out on roles - most staff are affected.”

The CPSU has also asked the department to commit to adding any cut staff to the Australian Public Service redeployment register.

Under the Coalition Government’s current recruitment freeze, agencies are barred from filling vacancies with external applicants. Agencies needing to fill roles are instead required to draw from a list of employees that have been “deemed excess” from other government bodies, and who have been placed on a central ‘redeployment register’.

The CPSU’s third demand is for greater transparency around the department’s plans to restructure its operations, to allow staff to make “more informed decisions” about their futures.

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