Cleaners told of redundancy in lead-up to Christmas

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Cleaners have been a casualty in the shift to Ashburton’s new library and civic centre Te Whare Whakatere.
Four district council cleaners were made redundant in the lead-up to Christmas as it opted for a commercial cleaning company to service the new building.

People and facilities group manager Sarah Mosley said Te Whare Whakatere was a larger and more complex building to clean compared to the current district council building.

“Plus the different public operating hours, we investigated whether it made sense to outsource the cleaning or continue with in-house cleaners,” Mosley said.

Christchurch-based OCS had been appointed following a tendering process, guided by the district council’s procurement policy.

“We commenced the consultation process with affected staff early in November.

“OCS employ local people and as part of this change process, all staff had the opportunity to transfer. While team members decided not to transfer to OCS, we were able to retain some staff.”

Three staff remain as district council employees, totalling 1.8 full-time equivalent (FTE), while four staff (2.7 FTE) were made redundant.

It was unfortunate timing Mosley said.

“We acknowledge that while advising staff of the change right before Christmas wasn’t ideal, the timing coincided with the revised opening dates for the new building, with the employees’ last workday scheduled for early January,” Mosely said.

OCS are a company that cleans for a number of other local businesses and many other council facilities across the South Island, she said.

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.