Just as well we can play a long game

2020 and its connotations of perfect vision remind us how we see things. For us, there are the new things, like our negotiations for a new 2020 Award, and a new dispute with Sydney City just to start the year, but there are the old and the continuing things as well - what’s happening with planning, the accreditation process of local government employees, and on and on.

The cartoon and the headline above were published in the last issue of the Health Surveyors’ News (one of our historic names) in May 1987. We were already fighting off the introduction of term contracts in the industry - allegedly to better manage performance as if continuing and permanent employees can’t be performance-managed, but really to make it easier for a Council to sack employees without the checks and balances provided by the Industrial Relations Act. The Council simply decides not to renew the contract...

It’s been a long history, not to be repeated here in this issue, but as we enter 2020 we remain committed to removing terms of employment for senior staff other than general managers, and even for GM’s to provide checks and balances, to ensure that a newly elected council can’t decide, as part of flexing their political or lack-of-intellectual muscle, to terminate their contract regardless of the GM’s performance. A waste of public money and poor treatment of a good employee.

We are immobilised in our section 106 with Narrabri Council/GM Stewart Todd as the Supreme Court considers Todd’s challenge that the Court doesn’t have jurisdiction to deal with contractual issues for senior staff under the Local Government Act. We can’t wait, there are only two alternatives here, Todd loses and senior staff win, or Todd wins and senior staff lose. Either way, the issue will be resolved.

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