The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 2 (May 1, 1939)
Confidential to R.O.I. Members. To All Branch Secretaries
Confidential to R.O.I. Members. To All Branch Secretaries.
Our General Secretary informs me that what appear to be contradictions between my notice of resignation from the Appeal Board and my address to the North Canterbury Branch members has caused him some difficulty in explaining to Branches which have written to me as to what are the actual matters which brought about my resignation.
I am very sorry indeed that such should be the case. The apparent contradiction if any arises from the fact that only the opening remarks of my speech were reported, together with the resolutions passed by the meeting. The parts of my speech which have caused the misunderstanding seem to be–I do not think that our Administrative Officers are solely to blame–the matter lies deeper than mere administration–the source of most of our troubles to-day is in the 1927 and 1928 amendments to the Railways Act.
You will note that the press report of my speech concludes with–Mr. Roscoe then discussed the reasons given in his notice of resignation from the Appeal Board. This part of my address was kept out of the press to conform with the concluding paragraph of the Executive Committee's statement of March 21st.
To clear up the misunderstanding, I summarise below very briefly the reasons given to our Branch meeting–
The term of the appointed members of the Appeal Board finishes in May next. My recent experience of appeal cases convinces me that no appellants have a chance of winning an appeal before the new Board is appointed. My action prevents the hearing of any appeals before a new Board is appointed. Senior officers of the Department are coached in the evidence they are to give. They should be able to tell the truth without coaching. One of the most serious handicaps that members have to contend with is the loss of the right of appeal against non-recommendation. This right was taken away by the 1927 amendments to the Act. These amendments also provide that a member winning an appeal must take the position of the member against whose appointment he appealed. This frequently reacts in a manner disadvantageous to appellants since the Board is loth to displace a good man. The questions of accelerated promotion in special positions giving all the plums of the Service to favoured few is one of the most burning problems of the day and can be rectified only by amendment of the Act. The hard and fast rule in relation to examination barrier is not in accord with modern educational practice. The law in this case prevents very good men from exercising the right of appeal in relation to promotions from grade 7 to 6. The right of appeal in relation to dismissal for alleged drunkenness–whether on or off the job–and alleged peculation is denied by the Department which is supported by the Solicitor-General. The right of appeal by officers in relation to the grading of positions is challenged by the Department notwithstanding that they have actually occupied or do occupy the positions. The present system of regrading is altogether too cumbersome and productive of delay. This must be altered probably by establishing a tribunal which will hear evidence of altered value of positions annually. This requires amendment of the Act. Advertising of consequential vacancies destroys any value there might be in the advertising of vacancies, and must be remedied. Delays in the settlement of grievances such as the non-enforcement of the forty-hour week, the shortage of staff, overdue annual leave, the unsympathetic attitude of the Management in relation to adequate facilities for the training of cadets and penalising these young members for failing to qualify for Morse in their own time.
The above are matters which I amplified in my address to our members as bases contributing to the general state of dissatisfaction which permeates the Service, many of which are beyond the scope of conference between the interested parties, and require for their adjustment an expert committee empowered to take such evidence as it considers might be valuable and make recommendations to rectify such matters.
Trusting that the above will remove any misunderstanding that has arisen from the published report of part of my Christchurch speech.
J. S. Roscoe.page break
“Above me are the Alps,
The palaces of Nature, whose vast walls
Have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps …”
The terminal face of the Tasman Glacier, near the Hermitage, Mt. Cook. The Tasman Glacier is the greatest outside the Himalayan and Polar regions, being eighteen miles long by one to three miles wide.
(Thelma R. Kent, photo.)