ACTU defends own job axings

THE ACTU has joined the ranks of corporate Australia by moving to axe nearly 20 per cent of its staff and by outsourcing work.

The controversial restructure will see nearly all jobs in the Australian Council of Trade Unions' media and campaigns section cut. Sources said some of that work would be outsourced to Essential Media Communications, a union-friendly public relations company.

The union movement has been a bitter critic of outsourcing and a union official who spoke to The Age questioned the move. Another senior unionist, who is on the ACTU executive, said he was unaware that the job cuts were coming.

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver defended the changes, which will also see staff cut from its training department. A total of about 20 will leave through a mix of compulsory and voluntary redundancies.

''This is the way I'm going to run the ACTU,'' Mr Oliver said. ''Reorient it to be more campaign-orientated.''

He said the restructure had the backing of senior officers and affiliated unions.

Mr Oliver defended the job cuts from the communications department and said it was in response to a changing media environment.

He rejected claims the ACTU had been hypocritical on outsourcing. ''We currently use third-party providers and continue to do so, we will have some in-house capacity.''

The ACTU has campaigned hard in recent years on the issue of insecure work and has also regularly attacked employers for shedding staff.

In July Mr Oliver attacked Ford for layoffs and said ''workers must not be made scapegoats for poor management decisions''.

Yesterday he said the ACTU had never opposed restructuring and that the changes were needed to have a ''greater focus on campaigning''.

Follow the National Times on Twitter

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide