Rotorua Aquatic Centre staff are preparing to fight ahead of a Rotorua Lakes Council decision on whether to outsource management of the pool complex.
The Rotorua Daily Post understands a decision on whether to outsource management or to keep it in-house will be made in the confidential section of today's full council meeting.
In a confidential report prepared by Steve Watene of Wa Limited for the council in August, four options regarding the future management of the Aquatic Centre have been identified, but an external management model has been recommended.
Awunz Construction and Infrastructure union organiser Rob Popata, who represents Aquatic Centre union members, believes the report will be the basis on which councillors will make their decision.
"The report was prepared without any consultation with myself [union] or staff," Popata said. "We are in the process of seeking legal advice to look at the lack of fair and meaningful consultation and whether council have undertaken any investigation into recommendations to keep management in-house."
He said there were a number of concerns he and staff had if an external contractor was appointed.
"We want to know if ratepayers will be asked to foot redundancy payments to current staff if their employment with Rotorua Lakes Council is terminated. We want to know if an external contractor would want to change terms and conditions, deemed fair and agreed to by council, in regard to future employment.
"Even if management is out-sourced council, as owners of the complex, have a social responsibility to ensure these workers are looked after. They can, if they choose to, have a say as to what happens with existing workers."
An Aquatic Centre worker, who did not want to be named, said staff had been asked to meet with council senior management at 1.30pm today.
"We have been told an announcement will be made at that time," the staff member said. "But the feeling amongst staff is council made up their minds a long time ago.
"A few of the team have been in their roles for a long time, one must be approaching 30 years, we know how to run this pool and would love council to put their faith in us to do that.
"We are also local and understand the local community."
A memo to Aquatic Centre staff dated September 13 stated three management companies had expressed an interest in possibly running the centre.
It said the council would be asked to make a decision in November.
The memo thanked staff for their "professional and positive response" to the announcement that changes were on the horizon and acknowledged "uncertainties can add stress and apprehension about future goals and job security".
The Rotorua Daily Post asked the council if a decision would be made today regarding the appointment of an external contractor. It also asked what the recommendation of an external contactor would mean for staff and whether it would mean any changes for pool users including a price increase.
In response, council public relations manager Ingrid Tiriana said any decision made regarding the Aquatic Centre "would be announced at the appropriate time".