GOLDENFIELDS Water County Council (GWCC) has been thrown into crisis with several employees locked in a dispute with its general manager over explosive bullying allegations.
The United Services Union has submitted a 47-page report to the Industrial Relations Commission alleging GWCC’s general manager Andrew Grant subjected a number of employees to systematic intimidation and harassment.
Several employees have spoken to the Advertiser about the allegations, though none were prepared to speak publicly due to fear of retribution.
A union meeting held earlier this month, attended by about 50 people, heard a number of explosive claims relating to the dispute.
Mr Grant declined to comment when contacted by the Advertiser on Monday, though GWCC issued a statement shortly after on behalf of chairman Peter Spiers stating the general manager retained the full support of the board.
“It has been agreed between the council and union that this issue will be the subject of a confidential mediation process, aimed at restoring the working relationships of the parties,” Cr Spiers said in the statement.
“The general manager hopes the mediation will resolve all issues. The general manager continues to have the full support of the board.”
One source familiar with the dispute said GWCC had “some of the worst human resources management practices (seen) since slavery was abolished”.
In this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, Mr Grant was awarded the Public Service Medal for “bringing innovation and efficiency” to GWCC and outstanding managerial and leadership skills.
In a separate case, GWCC is also in dispute with the union at the commission regarding the finalisation of a replacement award, with its current one now past its expiry date.
The award matter has been before the commission on four separate occasions. In a statement, Cr Spiers said current negotiations were coming to a “successful conclusions”.
“When finalised, both the council and the union will support the replacement award’s approval by the commission,” he said.
Both hearings continue before the Industrial Relations Commission.
United Services Union organiser Rudy Oppitz, who is representing the aggrieved staff members, did not return calls on Monday.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.