October 2, 2009

Blood PressureInside this issue:

  • Code Red update
  • Permanent sick leave and the Attendance Management Policy
  • Retained members and payment for pre-course assignments
  • Health checks for Hazmat and CFBT members


The Union’s overnight relieving bans (see Code Red, 1 October 2009) achieved more than simply costing the Department $34,000 in additional overtime. They also resulted in a compromise being reached whereby the Department this morning agreed to promote all of the members of SOPP Class 25 to Station Officer Level 2 on 2 October 2011, regardless of the date of their initial promotion from LF to SO1.

As a result of the Union’s actions, each member of SOPP Class 25 will in two years’ time pick up an extra $70 for every week that their promotion to SO1 is delayed now. While the members have not been promoted immediately to SO1, they won’t be required to work as Station Officers unless they’re paid at SO rates. As importantly, this arrangement prevents the Department from developing a potentially unlimited pool of LFs who could act-up without restriction.

This is an interim agreement for Class 25 only pending further negotiations prior to a report back to the Industrial Relations Commission on 2 November. It is our hope that a concrete settlement of this issue will be secured by then, and certainly prior to the start of SOPP Class 26 on 9 November. More to follow.

Permanent sick leave and the Attendance Management Policy

The Department has finally wheeled out its Attendance Management Policy (AMP) that was first introduced with the 2008 Award and In Orders 2008/24, with letters now going out to targeted members and the first ‘informal interviews’ commencing. It’s not surprising, then, that the members now receiving these letters are contacting the Union office looking for some guidance.

The Union has identified numerous concerns with the Policy and its implementation, and each of these matters were raised with the Department at meetings held on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The Department has undertaken to investigate these matters and respond as soon as possible, and those answers will taken into account before the Union then issues its own comprehensive AMP advice and guidelines for members shortly.

In the meantime, all members who receive an AMP letter are advised to fax a copy to the Union office on 9218 3444, together with your telephone contact details, following which one of our Industrial Officers will then contact you to assist and advise you directly.

Retained members and payment for pre-course assignments

Retained members are continually calling the Union to complain that they have been told by management that they cannot claim, or can only claim a certain amount of hours (which are usually grossly insufficient) for undertaking pre-course assignments for rescue, first aid, hazmat, etc.

There is also a misperception in some Zones that these assignments are to be done during normal station drills. This is not correct.

The Union has not agreed to the allocation of hours for retained pre-course assignments and has certainly not agreed to these being undertaken during normal station drills.

Members are advised that retained pre-course assignments should be undertaken as other training and that the time required to complete these assignments should be entered on your electronic timesheet.

Health checks for Hazmat and CFBT members

Past, present and future Primary Hazmat technicians and CFBT Instructors will now be offered voluntary health screening as part of a Union agreement to improve members’ health and safety. The screening is offered on an annual basis and is completely confidential with results sent only to your doctor, and not the Department. Only aggregate data will be provided to the Department and the Union so that any concerns regarding exposure and potential health and safety risks can be identified and addressed.