THE decision to lease out the running of Mornington Peninsula Shire’s aquatic and leisure centres to Belgravia Leisure has been blasted as “disgraceful” by a union official in a letter sent to all shire councillors.
The official, organiser Ty Lockwood, represents staff involved in the transition which took place on 1 November.
The lease arrangement affects staff at Pelican Park Recreation Centre, Crib Point pool, Somerville Health & Fitness Studio, Civic Reserve Recreation Centre in Mornington, and Westernport Gymnastics at Hastings Community Hub.
The shire’s best practice facilitator Vicki Bishop notified Mr Lockwood beforehand that all leisure centre staff, including casual staff, would transfer to Belgravia Leisure.
She said they would “retain their existing employment terms and conditions as well as recognition of prior years of service with the shire. There will be no substantive changes to roles or rostered hours”.
Affected staff members were notified of their redeployment in September.
The shire’s chief financial officer Matthew Green said staff at the leisure centres “continue their employment with Belgravia Leisure”.
“They retain their existing employment terms and conditions for the life of [their] contract,” he said.
“It is the employee’s choice regarding superannuation: they can remain with their current fund, transfer to the Belgravia default fund or choose any other fund they prefer.”
Mr Lockwood is acting for a shire staff member who does not want a job with Belgravia Leisure, not least because her new contract reportedly offers a three-year term rather than the ongoing employment enjoyed by most shire staff.
“This in our view again breaches the transfer of business clause of the 2014 MP Shire Enterprise Agreement as [she] had permanent ongoing employment with the shire: now her employment ceases on 28 October 2020,” Mr Lockwood said.
“Why and how was this decision made? Who made this decision: MP Shire or Belgravia Leisure?”
Mr Lockwood said he had “further concerns that other shire leisure employees may also have the same issue”.
“This is our second attempt to try and get this redeployment process sorted,” he told Ms Bishop in an email. “MP Shire has, in our view, breached the 2014 Enterprise Agreement again.
“Perhaps a proper review needs to be conducted to ensure there aren’t further breaches …”
Mr Lockwood wanted to know if councillors were aware that Belgravia Leisure has an Enterprise Agreement that “has not been renewed since 2003? Do the councillors think that this is ok?
“Are the councillors happy that their decision to outsource Leisure has screwed over good, honest hard working residents and everyday people?
“Would the ratepayers of Mornington Peninsula Shire be happy with their rates reportedly paying CEO Carl Cowie somewhere in the order of $400,000 a year with very lucrative conditions?”
The shire will pay Belgravia $5.72 million over five years in management fees. The Bayswater-based company will also run the shire’s All Access outreach programs for older adults in Mornington, Rosebud, Hastings, Somers, Blairgowrie and Somerville.