Gympie council CEO Shane Gray has categorically denied claims made in a new and extraordinary social media attack on the council involving a leaked Service Union email
Gympie council CEO Shane Gray has categorically denied claims made in a new and extraordinary social media attack on the council involving a leaked Service Union email

CEO rejects claims of council staff 'sack list'

Gympie council CEO Shane Gray has refuted claims of a 100 person "sack list" and that the organisation was being underhanded with job cuts.

The allegations were made in a Facebook post which included a leaked email sent by the Services Union to council staff.

The email, sent by the union last week, said it would be lodging a complaint with the Queensland Industrial Commission over the council's handling of a plan to slash the number of management positions from 22 to 11 by way of "spill and fill" (which involves declaring affected positions vacant and requiring those who wish to fill newly created positions to apply for them).

It accused Mr Gray of breaching the existing certified agreement by scheduling a meeting with affected staff immediately after a meeting with the union.

The post was accompanied by a leaked email from the Services Union to council staff members.
The post was accompanied by a leaked email from the Services Union to council staff members.

"The fact that the decision had been made and a meeting scheduled with affected staff straight after … indicates there was no intention to consult over major workplace change," it said.

"Clearly our union has a different view of what consultation is.

"These actions by the CEO are in breach of the current CA, disregard the previous commitments given to staff and the Services Union which we dispute."

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The statements were posted on Facebook along with accusations of deep job cuts.

Mr Gray said he was "disappointed … the first time I saw that (union) letter was on social media from an account with a fake name and pushing to agitate and disrupt".

The now deleted post attacked the council’s hierarchy, alleging staff were being disregarded by the process undertaken.
The now deleted post attacked the council’s hierarchy, alleging staff were being disregarded by the process undertaken.

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While there were about 20 manages employed at the council when he took the job, Mr Gray said a number of those people had already left of their own accord and the council had "intentionally not replaced them".

A since-deleted claim that Mayor Glen Hartwig wanted to "sack 100 staff" and that "there may well be staff self harming as they loose (sic) their homes" was also rejected.

"Every decision I make affects lives and I'm not prepared to make a decision unless I've fully considered all aspects of it," Mr Gray said.

There did exist a list of about 20 people to possibly be made redundant when he took over the job, Mr Gray said, but he was unaware of its origins.

SU secretary Neil Henderson says the matter has not been taken to the QIRC, and the council has agreed to further consult on any potential job cuts.
SU secretary Neil Henderson says the matter has not been taken to the QIRC, and the council has agreed to further consult on any potential job cuts.

It was something he put the brakes on during his second day on the job.

"I didn't agree with the process," he said.

Following last week's discussions with the union Mr Gray said further staff consultation measures had been put in place.

Union secretary Neil Henderson said the issues in the email had been raised with Mr Gray and their concerns would not be brought before the QIRC, although the union "would be happy to refer it" if needed.

The hope was it would not be, with the council's agreement to continue consultation with staff.

"We'll give them the benefit of the doubt," Mr Henderson said.

The two organisations clashed in June last year when the union claimed the council, running under interim CEO Pauline Gordon, "flagrantly" breached its enterprise agreement with staff.

The QIRC ordered the council halt any further steps that may have led to staff redundancies.

The union and the council then began consulting over any future cuts.

Gympie Times


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