Is this the right room for an argument? Here we go again at Taree

We are in dispute again with Greater Taree City Council.

As a result of a restructure some time ago, the Council has de-skilled and removed authority from a member who was formerly a Manager and is now a team leader. He accepted the position of team leader on assurances by the Council would be virtually indistinguishable and that this would be revealed when the position description was developed. The Council has refused, despite monthly requests, to prepare the position description.

We were able to identify 18 separate responsibilities lost in the change (and that's counting the loss of all delegations only as one factor) in addition to the council's failure to honour their undertaking to prepare a position description but the council would still not agree to make the aggrieved employee redundant.

So, we filed a dispute and, for good measure, added to it two other issues that we were struggling to settle. One was an issue about an employee's right to a free commuter car arising from a letter of appointment which said she had that as an entitlement and the other was a failure of the Council to comply with the rules of their salary system when the salary system allowed two step increases but management simply decided that they didn't want to do that anymore.

The dispute was heard by Commissioner Stanton in the Industrial Relations Commission on 4 May and the Council denied everything. It was like living in Monty Python's famous Argument Sketch...

depa:         I came here for a good argument.

Council:     No you didn't; no, you came here for an argument.

depa:         An argument isn't just contradiction.

Council:     It can be.

depa:         No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.

Council:     No it isn't.

depa:         Yes it is! It's not just contradiction.

Council:     Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.

depa:         Yes, but that's not just saying “No it isn't”!

Council:     Yes it is!

depa:         No it isn't!

Council:     Yes it is!

depa:         Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.

(Short pause)

Council:     No it isn't.

The argument/contradiction is set down for conciliation in the Commission in Taree on 30 June. We hope for something more constructive from the Council that day.

Copyright © 2023 The Development and Environmental Professionals' Association (depa). All Rights Reserved. Webdesign: Dot Online