We don’t like being gagged and we pull the pin on the EMRG

In depaNews in October last year we advised members of the facade that had been established by OLG and DPC under the guise of drawing on the expertise of the three unions and the employers in the industry giving advice to the Government on employment issues as the mergers rolled out.

It was, at that stage, facadism at its worst - masquerading as a transparent consultative mechanism when the reality was that we were getting more confidential information sent to us by people who shouldn’t do so and then we would distribute it to the Reference Group, wondering why we didn’t have it. That opened up access to more information than the Government had, up until that stage, been prepared to provide.

And our strategy of threatening the merged councils with industrial disputes for failing to disclose significant changes in their workforce because the Government wouldn’t allow them to provide details of cost-cutting measures they were being forced to make and to keep confidential unlocked more critical information.

So we made the Employment Matters Reference Group a more useful, transparent and consultative body than the government originally intended.

But the Reference Group require that the deliberations of the group be not disclosed and sometimes being gagged, in the context of industrial disputes when that information would be critical, is an unacceptable restriction. Particularly in an unpleasant and drawn out battle with Georges River and their belligerent position on section 354D.

So, it’s our history now that OLG has reminded councils that the protection under section 354 D of the Local Government Act is indefinite and not restricted to the three years as the boofheads at Georges River, in particular, were insisting.

But how the matter was raised by us in the IRC in the dispute has become a problem. So, having made them construct a more transparent and open consultative group, we’ve pulled the pin.

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