November 8, 2005

The Union’s 95th Annual General Meeting will be held at the Tom Mann Threatre, 136 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills (approx. 200m south of the Devonshire St tunnel exit from Central Station) commencing at 10.00am on Wednesday 30 November.Notice and details of corresponding Sub-Branch Meetings will be distributed to respective Sub-Branch workplaces separately in the week commencing Monday 14 November.

Agenda

•        Apologies
•        Adoption of 2004 AGM Minutes
•        State Secretary’s Annual Report
•        Questions on Notice

1.    From the State Committee re FBEU affiliation to Union Shopper

“That the State Committee resolution of 11 August 2004 committing the Union to a 12 month trial of the ‘Union Shopper’ initiative to harness the collective purchasing power of individual members of unions, thereby increasing the value of union membership –

‘That the State Secretary’s report on the background and potential benefits of joining the FBEU to the Union Shopper program as an associate union at a cost of 28 cents per member, per annum be received, noted and endorsed for 12 months, commencing 1 October 2004, during which time the State Committee shall monitor its effectiveness and benefit for members,’

be received and noted and that in view of the continued positive feedback from the many FBEU members who have already availed themselves of this additional union service over  the past year, the Union therefore continue its affiliation with the Union Shopper organisation until determined otherwise by a future General Meeting of members.”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

2.    From the State Committee re operation of transfer registers

“That firefighters and officers who are transferred to a Regional Communications Centre (Newcastle, Katoomba or Wollongong) or Regional BA/Hazmat Section (Newcastle or Wollongong) in accordance with the provisions of subclauses 28.6.1.2 or 28.6.1.3 of the Award should only be considered to have been permanently transferred to that Regional Transfer Area when they have met the transfer requirements of subclause 28.3.4, and must otherwise be returned to the GSA if they are transferred out of that Centre/Section pursuant to subclause 28.6.1.6 pending their permanent transfer to that Regional Transfer Area pursuant to subclause 28.3.4. To avoid doubt, firefighters and officers who qualify for a permanent transfer to that Regional Transfer Area whilst waiting to complete their minimum period of service within the relevant Centre/Section may still accept their offer of transfer, even though they may not yet be eligible for transfer out of that Centre/Section pursuant to subclause 28.6.1.6.”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

3.    From the State Committee re opposition to changes for Recruits’ driving licence requirements

“That this meeting resolves to actively oppose any attempt by the Department to require applicants for this or any future year’s permanent recruitment campaign to attain a Medium Rigid driver’s licence prior to their employment with the NSWFB on the basis that:
a)    such training is presently a principal role and responsibility of FBEU members employed for that purpose at Alexandria;
b)    the Department has refused to acknowledge any productivity benefits and/or potential cost savings which the proposal would deliver;
c)    the proposal would place a potentially significant additional burden, both in terms of time and money, upon future recruits (and therefore future FBEU members); and
d)    the proposal would do nothing to assist the recruitment of women, NESB and indigenous people into the Brigades.
Accordingly, the State Secretary is directed to impose such bans and limitations as he may consider necessary to defeat this proposal in the event that the Department ignores the Union’s objections and attempts to proceed with this regressive initiative.”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

4.    From the State Committee re increase in Member Assistance Scheme (Rule 50)

“That this meeting authorises an increase in the maximum weekly amount which may be expended under Rule 50’s Assistance Scheme (being a benefit available to financial members of the Union who become incapable through sickness or accident of carrying out their firefighting duties and who therefore do not receive wages) from the current $120 per member, per week to $160 per member, per week effective on and from 1 July 2006.”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

5.    From the State Committee re SCOM remuneration policy

“That the remuneration policy set out hereunder (being an updated version of the policy first established in 1996) be received, noted and adopted as the most appropriate means by which honorary officials should be compensated for time spent and/or expenses incurred in their capacity as Union officials, and that such policy shall remain in place until determined otherwise by a future General Meeting of members:

STATE COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT ALLOWANCES POLICY

Daily Allowance
That the State Committee of Management officials’ daily allowance shall operate as a dual compensation system whereby a half or less day’s performance of official duties on behalf of the Union shall attract $61.00 and any commitment exceeding this, $91.50 per day, provided that:
a)     the official has received the prior authority of the State Secretary to carry out those duties; and
b)    when officials are rostered for duty with the employer, the daily allowance shall not be paid.

Excess Travelling Time
Further, in recognition of the additional commitment made by various officials in the performance of official duties through excessive traveling time, an additional $23.00 shall be paid for travel that exceeds 3 hours within any 24 hour period, $46.00 for travel exceeding 5 hours within any 24 hour period, and $69.00 for travel exceeding 7 hours, or more, within any 24 hour period. To avoid doubt, each 24 hour period shall commence at 0001 hours and conclude at 2400 hours.

Travelling Expenses
All reasonable travel expenses actually incurred in the performance of official duties shall be met by the Union, and all airfares incurred on behalf of the Union shall be at economy class rates. For the purpose of this policy, ‘reasonable travel expenses’ shall be considered to be the actual or equivalent cost of public transport whenever and wherever actually available (regardless of whether or not such public transport is actually used) or, where public transport is not available, the relevant Specified Journey Rate (as provided for under the Permanent Award. To avoid doubt, where more than one form of public transport is available (eg, both train and taxi, or both bus and train, etc.) then the Union shall meet the cost of the cheapest form only (ie, regardless of the form of public transport actually used) provided that airfares, if applicable, shall not be included in such determinations.

Accommodation
If official duties are scheduled to commence at such time that it would require an official to commence his/her journey prior to 0530 hours that day, then that official shall be entitled to overnight accommodation for the evening prior. Similarly if official duties actually conclude at such a time that it would require an official to travel for in excess of 2 hours and would result in that official returning to their residence after 2230 hours that day, then such official shall be entitled to overnight accommodation for that evening. Where accommodation is provided, it shall be single accommodation at a minimum standard of 3 stars (in the case of hotels) or 3 diamonds (motels) provided that where more than one form of accommodation is available and/or an official elects to stay elsewhere, then the Union shall meet the cost of the cheapest available 3 star/diamond accommodation only.

Meal Allowances
An official who is required to commence travelling prior to 0600 hours shall be entitled to a meal allowance (of equal value to that provided for under the Award) to cover the cost of that official’s breakfast. Similarly, an official whose Union duties commence prior to 1500 hours and extend beyond 1900 hours shall be entitled to a meal allowance to cover the cost of that official’s evening meal. Officials who are entitled to overnight accommodation shall be entitled to two meal allowances, one to cover the cost of their evening meal and the other the cost of the their breakfast, provided that an official who is accommodated overnight shall not be entitled to receive two evening meal allowances. The State Committee officials’ daily allowances include a component to compensate for meals and as such, meal allowances shall not be payable under any circumstance other than those set out above.

Mobile Telephones
State Committee officials shall be provided with a mobile telephone both for the purposes of conducting Union business and to allow for greater contact between State Committee officials and the rank and file membership. In recognising that:
a)     it is impractical and unreasonable to expect officials to carry two mobile telephones, (ie, one Union and the other private);
b)     officials devote many hours to Union business for which they are not otherwise compensated (including work generated by their Union mobiles); and
c)     the realities of points (a) and (b) are such that the ATO has ruled that mobile telephones provided by an employer do not constitute a fringe benefit;
State Committee officials shall also be permitted personal use of their Union mobile telephones on the strict understanding that all officials shall remain personally liable for any and all mobile telephone expenditure that exceeds $100.00 per month in the case of honorary officials and $150.00 per month in the case of full time officials unless the State Committee has reviewed an individual official’s expenditure for a particular month and as a result of that review and the exceptional workload of that official, expressly resolved to meet part or all of that excess cost.

Internet Expenses
In recognition of the need of officials to access their Union email accounts via the internet, and of the value of the internet as a resource and research tool to the Union and its officials, the Union shall subsidise each State Committee official’s internet expenses to the value of $30.00 per month.

Miscellaneous Expenses
All miscellaneous expenses actually incurred which are directly attributable to or necessary for the performance of official duties on behalf of the Union shall be met by the Union, provided that supporting documentation is made available where it may be reasonably expected to be available.

Lost Income
Any official actually foregoing income from their primary occupation – being considered to be strictly firefighting in the case of permanent firefighter officials – in order to carry out official duties on behalf of the Union shall have such lost income reimbursed by the Union, provided that supporting documentation is made available where it may be reasonably expected to be available.

Clothing Allowances
Annual clothing allowances of $1,582.00 for the State Secretary, and of $791.00 for the President, shall be paid by the Union during the month of June in each year.

Authorisation of Claims
As the officer responsible under the Rules for the scrutiny of all claims lodged by Union officials and staff, the State Secretary requires time to consider and authorise all Union expenditure, including claims made pursuant to this policy. Accordingly, claims shall generally not be paid on the day on which they are made, but in any event shall be reviewed within 10 working days and, if approved, paid immediately thereafter by way of cheque posted to the relevant official’s residence or direct deposit into that official’s nominated bank account. In the event that three or more State Committee officials disagree (either in whole or in part) with the State Secretary’s determination of any claim made pursuant to this policy, then it is expressly required that such disagreement is
recorded in the minutes of the State Committee of Management and referred to the next General Meeting (be it Special or Annual) for determination by the Union’s members. In the interim, however, the State Secretary’s determination shall stand.

Method of Adjustment
Finally, in recognition of the need for a mechanism whereby this Policy and the compensation rates specified herein may remain relevant into the future, the meal allowance and specified journey rates (only) shall be adjusted in accordance with variations to those rates under the Permanent Award and all other rates shall be adjusted in accordance with and relative to any percentage adjustment in Union membership dues as provided for under the Union’s Registered Rules, subject to the following guidelines:
a)    allowances shall first be adjusted in line with the relevant percentage increase and then rounded to the nearest 50 cents;
b)    when adjusting the daily allowance, the half-day allowance should be adjusted and the rounded result then multiplied by 150% in order to arrive at the revised full day’s allowance;
c)    when adjusting the excess travel time rate, the 3 hour-plus rate should be adjusted and the rounded result then multiplied by 200% to arrive at the revised 5 hour-plus rate, and again by 300% for the revised 7 hour-plus rate;
d)    when adjusting the mobile telephone expenses, the honorary officials’ ceiling should be adjusted and the rounded result then multiplied by 150% in order to arrive at the revised full time officials’ ceiling; and
e)    when adjusting the annual clothing allowances, the President’s allowance should be adjusted and the rounded result then multiplied by 200% in order to arrive at the revised State Secretary’s allowance.”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

6.    From the State Committee re FBEU Interim Editorial Policy

“That further to the 2004 AGM decision regarding Union Communications, this meeting believes that an Editorial Policy is essential when operating a more interactive website. The following interim policy is therefore designed to govern both the members’ forum and eJournal upon the launch of the new FBEU website.

The aim of any Union communication strategy is to enhance information flows both to and from the Union’s officials and the rank and file membership. Whilst the free flow of relevant information across the Union is encouraged, there are a range of legal, industrial and social considerations that need to be taken into account with such communication flows. To address these considerations, the FBEU’s Editorial policy explicitly prohibits the publication of material that is:

•    racist, sexist, homophobic, defamatory or otherwise discriminatory;
•    aimed at threatening or intimidating Union members or employees;
•    slanderous or libellous;
•    potentially incriminating with respect to the Fire Brigades Act, Regulations or other Commonwealth/State laws;
•    advertising (unless in a dedicated member post area that may be set up for that purpose at some future date);
•    pornographic (both text and graphics);
•    a duplicate of a previous post or extremely similar posts;
•    of no relevance to firefighters, the labour movement or the Objects of the Union as  contained in the Union’s registered rules;
•    contrary to the Objects of the Union as contained in the Union’s registered rules; or
•    produced by a member in their capacity as NSWFB management.

It is expressly provided that unnecessary and gratuitous personal attacks should be avoided. Robust debates and constructive criticism should occur without the unnecessary and gratuitous denigration of any individual involved with the Brigades. The personal criticism of an individual should only occur where it genuinely adds to the debate and relates to that individual’s actions rather than any of their personal attributes or circumstances.

The use of the members’ forum and/or eJournal for the purpose of electioneering is another area requiring boundaries and as a result this interim policy provides that no new postings will be allowed to the members’ forum and eJournal during the period commencing one day prior to the closure of candidate nominations and concluding upon the Returning Officer’s declaration of the results of the election. The new FBEU website will, however, include a candidates’ information area to which candidates will be invited to submit a written profile (and photograph, should they so choose) in support of their candidacy and which will begin operating upon the closure of nominations and conclude operating upon the closure of the ballot.

Consistent with Rule 19, the State Secretary will review and, if necessary, edit all Union communications (including postings to the members’ forum and eJournal) in accordance with this policy. Should a member submit either a forum or eJournal posting that the State Secretary subsequently edits or rejects in accordance with this policy, the member may appeal the State Secretary’s determination in writing to the State Committee of Management. Similarly, if the State Secretary allows the publication of any forum or eJournal content that a member considers does not conform with this policy and the State Secretary declines edit or remove same, then that member may appeal the State Secretary’s determination in writing to the State Committee of Management. Prior to any determination by the State Committee the State Secretary’s determination shall stand.

This interim policy shall be reviewed be a further General Meeting to be held within the next 12 months, but in any event no later than the 2006 AGM, with any amendments to this interim policy to be put to that meeting and a final Editorial Policy adopted.’”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

7.    From the Retained Sub-Branch re the amendment of the Retained Award’s Clause 26, Attendance Requirements at Incidents and Drills

“That Clause 26.1.1.1 which presently reads:

26.1.1    Employees who, by virtue of their primary form of employment, are dayworkers are required to attend a minimum of 50% of all night and weekend calls received by the employee’s brigade in any six month period.

should be amended to read

26.1.1    Employees who, by virtue of their primary form of employment, are dayworkers are required to attend a minimum of 50% of all night and weekend calls or 50% of all calls received by the employee’s brigade in any six month period.

and that the Union should make representations to the Department seeking its agreement to vary the Award to reflect this change as soon as possible.”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

8.    From the Retained Sub-Branch re staffing levels

“That all operational Retained Brigades be brought immediately up to staffing levels as per In Order 2000/16 titled ‘Variations to Staffing of Retained Brigades’.”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

9.    From the Senior Officers’ Sub-Branch re amenity policy for Inspector/Operational Commander

“That the Union accept and endorse the updated amenity policy which covers the living and working conditions of Operational Commanders/Inspectors positions in both the gSa and Country locations.

This policy outlines the minimum living standards required for both existing and future development if Operational Commander/Inspectors amenity.

And that all proposed alterations and future development and construction of living and working conditions for the rank of Operational Commander/Inspector is to be discussed with the SOSB and the main body of the Union before approval of any upgrade or future development can proceed.”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

10.    From the State Committee re Life Membership – Com. C. Read (Rule 52)

“That the correspondence dated 14th March 2005 and signed by 63 members requesting a Special General Meeting to consider the awarding of Life Membership to Comrade Chris Read be received, noted and endorsed and that in recognition of the Union’s many achievements under his leadership as FBEU State Secretary from May 1994 to February 2005, this meeting resolves to admit Comrade Read as a Life Member of the Union in accordance with Rule 52 (1).”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

11.    From the Union’s Rules re honoraria – President (Rule 18)

“That in accordance with Rule 18(7), this meeting endorses the payment to the Union’s President of an annual honorarium of $1 for the 12 month period following the 2004 AGM.”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT


12.    From the Union’s Rules re honoraria – Returning Officer (Rule 22)


“That in accordance with Rule 22(7), this meeting endorses the payment of the Returning Officer’s annual honorarium of $354 for the 12 month period following the 2004 AGM, as adjusted by 4% firefighter wage movements over that time.”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT


13.    From the Union’s Rules re appointment of Returning Officer (Rule 22)

“That in accordance with Rule 22(1), this meeting re-appoints Comrade Jim Casey as Returning Officer for the ensuing 12 months through until the Union’s 2006 Annual General Meeting,”

State Committee of Management recommendation: SUPPORT

•    Meeting Close

Craig Harris
State Secretary