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From: Rhonda
Sent: Thursday, 25 October 2012 11:18 AM
Subject: Email 3 Manipulation

………………………………………other manipulative practices from the AST and it is hard to determine what annoyances would be considered “manipulative” or what are just plain annoying/rude/disrespectful/antiquated/one sided/insulting/unnecessary/stringent/inconsistent/belittling/intimidating/unfair/unethical or appearing to be in place simply to abuse power. I believe much of what operators experience is manipulative in the sense that in doing so it highlights the complete and utter control over every single aspect of an operators business. We were boarder line “deemed employees” with the last Tender but now with Set Rates combined with Set Times and absolutely no ability to run a business any way but the Department way, even more so in this tender. We oblige their every demand as petty as it may be. Student safety rules aside, there are few valid reasons for many of their rules. To be honest, the whole contract is and has always been manipulated to benefit the AST at the detriment of the operator and described by lawyers as being “unfair, unconscionable and extremely ambiguous”. Even so, we do follow these rules as best we can and when a problem occurs, we take care of it in a safe manner though sometimes for necessity, against the “rules”. Always done though, at the risk of those ever present verbal or implied threats. Seriously, if each rule was looked at with commonsense they would know there is no way in hell these runs could run smoothly without deviation. Ok, rant over. I will re surface many smaller concerns that we buried temporarily thinking it would be best discussed after the larger ones were addressed.

On Categories.

I know you disagree, but to me, and likely every past operator, the Category Sliding Debacle was “Manipulation at its Finest”. It was the Jackpot. In implementing this drastic departure from the past and current understood and accepted procedure, it pampered a seemingly ever present need to belittle and intimidate operators. To give credit where it’s due, it was very clever. By calling it “interpretive” makes it difficult to refute. While intrinsically wrong, it’s one’s perception that cannot be satisfactorily argued against. But, in their hasty attempt to “punish” operators who they blame for the “incident” (verbally stated by staff members) they neglected to remember their earlier “interpretation” in 2010. They cannot have it both ways. To vehemently explain it one way then to say it is actually meant another means at some point the contract was dissected in a conniving way. Truly, it can only be one of two things, either we were lied to at the Tender briefings or it was a cost saving tactic implemented AFTER contracts were signed. Either way, it is NOT an “interpretive” issue. It was a devised method meant to deprive rightfully earned money from the already struggling operators in that first term. How could anyone even consider this at such a precarious time? Who does this? Who gives themselves the power to undermine a decision made by the Director General without any regard to the stability of the tenuous situation? Can you at least partially see where our view of vindictiveness came from? Seriously, how could we have seen this any other way? It has perpetuated the division between the unit and operators and like Phil says, it will take years to amend.

I am unsure yet of how the new version of the Categories has been worded in the business rules. I know of your stance on the whole subject and I appreciate you are in a difficult position to air your views but perhaps if the “pussy footing” with management has now ceased the whole thing can be looked at openly from all angles and a compromise on the outcome will be suitable to all concerned.








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