July 10, 1998

Members would be aware that our Union has been involved in negotiations for several months now in an attempt to achieve increased staffing throughout country NSW. The Union’s State Committee, which has been working on this matter for over two years, initiated formal discussions with the Department in April this year and forwarded its formal offer to the Department on June 3.

The round of June 1998 Special General Meetings of rank and file overwhelmingly endorsed the State Committee’s position (Agenda Items 1 & 2). The Union’s offer, which is now waiting for the formal agreement of the Department and the NSW Government, can be summarised as follows:

  • The Union will now agree to the immediate release of all firefighting positions attached to the remaining 6 permanently staffed water tankers, as well as a reduction in minimum staffing at 35 Botany from SO&4 to SO&3,

in return for

  • an increase to SO&3 on the back to back roster, plus retained, at:
    Maitland, Bathurst, Tweed Heads, Port Macquarie, Dubbo and Orange
  • an increase to SO&3 on the special roster (ie day shift), plus retained, at:
    Tamworth, Armidale, Goonellabah, Coffs Harbour, Nowra and Goulburn
  • an increase at Albury, Turvey Park and Broken Hill to SO&3 per platoon
  • an additional 1% wage increase for all members, to be payable in August (permanents) and September (retained), 1999.

The Union is also proposing the following revised employment and relief provisions for the above 12 stations (only):

  • the offer of permanent employment to retained members attached to these stations in the event that insufficient applications for transfer are received from permanent members;
  • the use of retained members in lieu of permanents for short-term absences;
  • the use of Senior Firefighters in lieu of SO’s for short-term absences.

Whilst negotiations are continuing on a number of outstanding matters, we remain hopeful that agreement can – and will – now be reached in the very near future. Members currently attached to water tanker stations will be consulted directly in the coming fortnight. Further, notices advising of a series of meetings for retained members from the above stations will follow shortly, and further information will be provided to all members as it becomes available.

Chris Read,

State Secretary Friday 10th July, 1998