December 7, 2005

2005 AGM results

The Union’s 95th Annual General Meeting concluded at the Tom Mann Threatre, Surry Hills last Wednesday 30 November. The collective results from this and the various Sub-Branch held in Western Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Illawarra, and at various stations throughout the state are as follows:1.    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.”

Central Coast    22 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Country        44 for, 94 against, 1 abstain
Illawarra        33 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Newcastle    44 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Sydney        48 for, 0 against, 0 abstain

CARRIED

2.    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.”

Central Coast    22 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Country        51 for, 87 against, 1 abstain
Illawarra        33 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Newcastle    44 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Sydney        40 for, 7 against, 1 abstain

CARRIED

3.    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.
3.    Opposition to changes for Recruits’ driving licence requirements (continued from page 1)

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.”

Central Coast    22 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Country        53 for, 84 against, 2 abstain
Illawarra        21 for, 11 against, 1 abstain
Newcastle    44 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Sydney        47 for, 1 against, 0 abstain

CARRIED

4.    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.”

Central Coast    22 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Country        52 for, 83 against, 4 abstain
Illawarra        33 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Newcastle    44 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Sydney        48 for, 0 against, 0 abstain

CARRIED


5.    SCOM remuneration policy

Central Coast    0 for, 22 against, 0 abstain
Country        35 for, 100 against, 4 abstain
Illawarra        3 for, 19 against, 6 abstain
Newcastle    0 for, 43 against, 1 abstain
Sydney        43 for, 5 against, 0 abstain

LOST

6.    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.’”

Central Coast    21 for, 1 against, 0 abstain
Country        45 for, 92 against, 2 abstain
Illawarra        33 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Newcastle    43 for, 0 against, 1 abstain
Sydney        41 for, 1 against, 2 abstain

CARRIED

7.    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.”

Central Coast    22 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Country        64 for, 75 against, 0 abstain
Illawarra        32 for, 0 against, 1 abstain
Newcastle    44 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Sydney        40 for, 0 against, 0 abstain

CARRIED

8.    Retained 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’.”

Central Coast    22 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Country        45 for, 93 against, 1 abstain
Illawarra        32 for, 0 against, 1 abstain
Newcastle    44 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Sydney        40 for, 0 against, 0 abstain

CARRIED


9.    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.”

Central Coast    22 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Country        39 for, 99 against, 1 abstain
Illawarra        33 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Newcastle    44 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Sydney        40 for, 0 against, 0 abstain

CARRIED

10.    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).”

Central Coast    15 for, 7 against, 0 abstain
Country        49 for, 82 against, 0 abstain
Illawarra        33 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Newcastle    37 for, 7 against, 0 abstain
Sydney        40 for, 0 against, 0 abstain

CARRIED

11.    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.”

Central Coast    22 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Country        48 for, 87 against, 4 abstain
Illawarra        33 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Newcastle    44 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Sydney        40 for, 0 against, 0 abstain

CARRIED


12.    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.”

Central Coast    22 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Country        49 for, 88 against, 2 abstain
Illawarra        33 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Newcastle    44 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Sydney        40 for, 0 against, 0 abstain

CARRIED

13.    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,”

Central Coast    22 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Country        49 for, 88 against, 2 abstain
Illawarra        25 for, 2 against, 6 abstain
Newcastle    44 for, 0 against, 0 abstain
Sydney        40 for, 0 against, 0 abstain

CARRIED

Craig Harris
State Secretary