What Penrith did next

There are some fundamental problems at Penrith about their understanding of the State Award. Last month we reported on their lack of support for flexible working arrangements and working from home and a whole range of other things that made it hard for employees to balance family and work responsibilities - notwithstanding the commitment of the parties to the State Award for councils to “ensure and facilitate flexibility for work and family responsibilities”.

Now it’s clear they don’t understand their obligations in restructuring. A restructure has been announced of the Development Services Department and, while the report to the Consultative Committee about the proposal contained the advice that correspondence had been sent to depa, it hadn’t.

Clause 39 of the Award requires a range of things to be done by Council in circumstances like this - including advising the employees affected “and the union/s to which they belong” but the advice wasn’t sent to the union at all.
It may have simply been a mistake for which they should apologise but instead we get responses like the “DEPA delegate was advised well prior to the JCC” when everyone else in the world knows the Award requires notification to the union’s office and not the local delegate and, “I believe you may have been on leave at this time as well” as if a union official being on leave removes their obligation under the Award. We wrote a comprehensive letter about their failures to the GM seeking their assurance that they do understand the notification obligations and received a response back from the Executive Manager Corporate stating:

I can confirm that Council is fully aware and understands the notification requirements under clause 39 of the Local Government State Award 2014.

This is all well and good but what we needed from the Council was a clear and explicit acknowledgement that the notification goes to the union office.

The Council has form here as well, having failed in 2012 to notify the union office but then, having been helpfully advised they should do so, putting the restructure on hold until such time as proper consultation had occurred.
The Council at least agreed to delay the implementation date to attend to their obligations.

The story will be continued.

And someone thought it was smart, in an unrelated matter, to start suggesting to BPB accredited employees that they should spend their own money to join AIBS so that the Council gets the discount rate in attending any training.
The Award requires the Council to “pay the reasonable costs associated with obtaining and/or maintaining such accreditation, including the cost of accreditation fees and compulsory continued professional development training/course fees” and “grant paid leave to attend course requirements”. So the idea that employees should pay something to get the Council a discount on their obligations under the Award is unacceptable.

Apparently they do this every year – I bet they won’t next year.

More next month.

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