UP TO 60 jobs could be in jeopardyat Wauchope following a state government decision to corporatise Forests NSW.
A meeting hosted last week in the town highlighted worry for job losses and pay cuts resulting from the move announced last month.
Three jobs have already been lost in the area through closing a workshop linked to the state body.
NSW Public Service Association assistant secretary Shane O’Brien discussed local impacts with workers.
“People are very concerned about their future employment prospects and if they keep their jobs, what conditions and pay rates they will work under,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The government has already cut up to 26 positions [statewide] and refused to guarantee any minimum employment term for existing staff when they move across to the new corporate organisation, regardless of skill level or length of service.
“It has also applied to the Industrial Relations Commission to exclude Forests NSW workers from the current wage claim, and it has announced the renegotiation of all awards.”
The government has promised Forests NSW will remain publicly owned and the nature of the business and business relationships will remain largely the same, but the governance structures will change to improve the organisation’s
Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said, as a state owned corporation under the direction of a commercial board, the organisation will be able to focus on growing and harvesting timber to meet the community’s needs while still providing recreational opportunities.
“There will be no reduction in the regulatory oversight of Forests NSW and the government will ensure that the state’s commitments under the Regional Forest Agreements are met and that the expected environmental benefits are realised,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
Forests NSW in Wauchope did not want to comment.