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Gympie Regional Council – Time For Some Fairness

Local Authorities September 1, 2021

You and your fellow Services Union members at Gympie Regional Council (GRC) have continued to deliver for your employer and your community.

You’ve done so while many of your colleagues have left due to the current environment and uncertainty around your jobs.

Our Union has seen an increase in the number of investigations at GRC, some of which have been initiated five years after the alleged offence took place. This is not good enough.

We have also seen several investigations were undertaken that have lacked procedural fairness about matters which appeared to lack the necessary substance to justify the investigation being undertaken in the first place.  Sadly, the mental and physical toll of these investigations is most likely the reason that some of your colleagues have elected to resign.

It is important to remember if a member of staff is required to respond to allegations, it does not necessarily mean they have done anything wrong. 

Recently, many staff responded to a survey about current processes for investigations at GRC.

The response was overwhelming!

  • 25% of respondents had been subject to an investigation
  • 35% of respondents were required to provide evidence as a witness to an investigation
  • 75% of respondents who were witnesses felt uncomfortable with the line of questioning during the interview
  • 80% of respondents worked with a colleague who was subject to an investigation
  • 85% of respondents who had been subject to an investigation felt the process was unfair
  • 97% of respondents advised that the current level of investigations have had a negative impact on staff morale
  • 100% of respondents want to see “Best Practice Principles” applied to investigations at Gympie Regional Council

We also gave employees an opportunity to provide further information and below are just a few.

  • “Inconsistencies between investigations and processes have been manipulated to create a specific outcome”
  • “Mental health of employees has suffered since the new CEO and “his Team” have come in”.
  • “I have worked at GRC for a significant period and the current culture is the worst I have seen”
  • “Ongoing threats and innuendoes about investigations and audits taking place is just one factor that has completely eroded the morale of staff in this organisation”
  • “A lack of emotional care or support is ripping good functional teams apart”
  • “They have ripped the heart out of what used to be a great place to work”
  • “A complete disregard for procedural fairness”
  • “I regret not being a member of The Services Union as I was bullied and intimidated through an investigation that lacked any procedural fairness”

Further polling has revealed a strong belief among staff that the current strategy is designed to force people to leave and avoid paying redundancies.

What can you do if you are subject to an investigation or required to respond to allegations?

You are strongly encouraged to contact our Union on 3844 5300 for advice and representation from an experienced Industrial Officer who will ensure procedural fairness is followed.

Where to from here?    

Our Union and your delegates will be advocating for major changes to the current and inconsistent processes for investigations through the upcoming Certified Agreement negotiations.  We expect Council will be resistant to changing its practices which may mean you will need to consider your industrial options to ensure Council takes our members concerns seriously.

How can you help?

Speak to your colleagues and ask them whether they want to see fair and transparent processes.  If they do and they aren’t a member of our Union, show them how easy it is to join by clicking here.

Why is it important to have strong Union membership at GRC?

We know from years of experience when you have a strong membership and involvement it leads to better outcomes. Let’s be part of real change.

If this communique has caused emotional stress for you, or if you are experiencing difficulty at work due to the current environment, you can call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, or the Workers’ Psychological Support Service on 1800 370 732 or by email info@wpss.org.au

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