SOME councils are beginning to tighten the working conditions of staff to improve their bottom line.Gosford City Council is taking leased cars away from employees who return to work after maternity leave if they are not working a full 35-hour week. A dispute has been lodged by the Development and Environmental Professionals Association in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.”To claim anything under five days a week is the test is a furphy when full-time employees work a 19-day month. We have one member who wants to work 34 hours over four days and the general manager wants to take her car away,” said the secretary of the union, Ian Robertson.Last week the Commission recommended that no action be taken until the council reviews its car policy.Also before the Industrial Relations Commission is a decision by Bankstown City Council to require staff to take accumulated leave which has built up on its books. Mr Robertson said 14 employees with more than 15 weeks’ leave had been given letters requiring them to take up to six months’ leave immediately. “The day before one of our members was to begin four weeks’ annual leave she was directed not to return to work after her leave and to take another 9½ weeks’ leave,” he said.”We believe that while this is a breach of the award it is more importantly heavy-handed, insensitive to employee needs and bullying.”The Commission was due to hand down its recommendation early this week.Harvey Grennan