Unions oppose privatisation of ACT service company
by Janice Hamilton Unions are calling on the ACT Labor Government to honour its election commitments not to privatise government assets. The unions are particularly concerned about reports that the Government has decided to sell its service company Totalcare. Totalcare repairs and maintains roads and bridges, erects road signs, provides non-medical health services (e.g. linen and sterilising services for public hospitals), offers fleet management for passenger and commercial vehicles, property management for the ACT Government and other organisations, preservation of monuments and other services. It was corporatised by the previous Liberal Government in 1992. Cabinet has already established a working party to examine the viability of selling the company. The ACT Unions have asked the Government to widen the scope of the review to consider other options for its future. According to a statement received by "The Guardian", Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said there was no breach to the party's platform, "which while opposed to privatisation recognises that in some circumstances it is an appropriate course of action. "Significantly, the platform acknowledges that privatisation has to be considered if government businesses are not undertaking core government functions, or if they are a drain on the government purse "Totalcare workers have for years being faced uncertainty about their future largely caused by the poor management decisions of the previous Liberal Government", said Mr Malone. Totalcare has already undertaken significant restructuring in readiness for privatisation. It has paid out more than $1.5 million in redundancy costs in the two financial years. "If Totalcare is not to continue as a separate agency, then the preferred option is that all its current functions are reabsorbed into the public sector", said Mr Malone. The Chief Minister has other ideas. He says workers' entitlements would be met where parts of the company are sold off or closed down. There are no guarantees of job security. "After years of dedicated service to the ACT Government and local community, Totalcare workers deserve to be treated fairly and honestly", said the Secretary of ACT Unions Peter Malone.