IT workers fight for their jobs
Brisbane City Council IT workers are fighting to prevent their jobs being outsourced overseas. Photo: Louie Douvis
Brisbane City Council will meet with staff unions next Tuesday as 50 information technology workers fight to stop their jobs being outsourced, potentially to overseas workers.
The council disputes it wants to directly outsource jobs overseas, but agrees it has little control over the actions of the two firms that have tendered for the outsourcing work.
A spokesman for Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the council would not make a decision on the issue until late February.
He said the council did not have the ability to determine how a firm should run its business when it won the tender.
"We will be dealing with Australian-based firms and workers, therefore it would be near impossible to police whether they then outsourced this work overseas further along the line, nor are we going to tell Australian-based private-sector firms how to run their business," he said.
Australian Services Union assistant secretary Jennifer Thomas said workers had to be given the chance to bid for work that could be outsourced.
"Our members affected by the proposed outsourcing option have indicated that they believe that they can compete against any local suppliers," she said.
"But they question what commitment the council would have to the city by exporting current jobs overseas."
Ms Thomas insisted workers having the chance to bid for their own jobs was a condition of their current enterprise bargaining agreement.
"Our union has consistently required that a business case be presented to unions prior to any decision being made," she said.
"Council has agreed to meet with our union on Tuesday to resolve any issues."
However, Cr Quirk's spokesman said the clause was only an option and "not a formal requirement".
"[It] does not apply in circumstances where a specific work unit is undertaking an organisational redesign – exactly what is occurring here," he said.
Finance chairman Julian Simmonds said there would be no change to the council's customer contact centre or internal IT help desk.
Cr Simmonds said the outsourcing involved the council's computer programming area.
"Computer programming is not our core business and it's common for large organisations like ours to outsource this type of technical work to the experts who will deliver better value for ratepayers," he said.