Bankstown wins HR Award – depaNews December 2010

Golden dog turd – December 2010

No real surprise in 2010 HR awards

Dammit, we were hoping for a bit of anxiety, some doubt to keep the contestants on their toes and the bookies uncertain. What we got was Bankstown, a clear winner with daylight second. A funny state of affairs for a Council which is historically "Labor" and with an ALP Mayor.

We have had an unfortunate history with this Council. In our December 2005 issue, we ran a competition about whether there was "anywhere worse than Bankstown" and found that there wasn't.

In summarising the year we listed:

• Sacking a member who lost his licence when they could have easily accommodated other travel arrangements.

• Breaching the Award by establishing a Consultative Committee with other people not agreed to by union delegates.

• Breaching the Award by not having a Salary System that provides annual reviews or progression based on the acquisition and use of skills.

• Sacking another member for losing his licence when they could have easily accommodated other travel arrangements.

• Making changes to the organisation structure, and refusing to have a meeting of members but offering individual meetings where management can stand over individual employees.

• Refusing, unsuccessfully, to allow a member part-time work (even though they enticed him to come and work there on the basis that he could do this) to accommodate his family needs.

We excluded what used to be known as City Approvals where they had "a more benign managerial style" and we could have added the second dispute in 2005 mentioned above about the punitive approach to access to overtime but we were trying to be gracious and full of goodwill because it was the end of the year.

In 2006 were able to settle all these disputes after the intervention of the Council but in 2010 we were back in the Commission three times.

The first under section 106 for a member suspended without any good reason and eventually settled with a protective Deed of Release that doesn't allow us to say any more than the dispute was resolved. Even though we can't tell you why, we love settling disputes like this. That’s depa 1 – Bankstown City Council nil.

The second, when the Council acted unreasonably by directing a member of ours about to go on leave for six weeks to remain for another nine weeks to reduce sick leave accumulation and where the other 12 or 13 people who received a similar letter the following day were given time and an option of agreeing to something else. This was a dispute where the Commission eventually directed the Council to withdraw that direction and to properly consult with employees if they propose to change long-standing HR practices. That’s depa 2 – Bankstown City Council nil.

The third, about how they deal with the flexibility of an employee's kids growing up and wanting to return to full-time work. And that's depa 3 – Bankstown City Council nil.

We have had more disputes with Bankstown than any other council ever and we had more disputes with Bankstown this year than with any other Council. And they’ve lost the lot.

Congratulations to Bankstown City Council - we look forward to continuing our relationship with you in 2011.

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