August 27, 2010

Inside this issue:

  • Permanent members maintaining minimum staffing at retained stations
  • Joint Drug and Alcohol Protocol still in place
  • Retained Community First Responder claim
  • In Orders moved to Wednesday – why?

Permanent members maintaining minimum staffing at retained stations

Reports have reached the Union office of members below the rank of Senior Firefighter being used in the first instance to maintain minimum staffing at retained stations. This is contrary to the agreement between the Union and the Department which provides that if the Department requires a permanent member to fill a vacancy at a retained station, the first vacancy must be filled by a Station Officer or Senior Firefighter. This is because Station Officers and Senior Firefighters have completed ICS training and are qualified to act as the officer in charge if they are the only permanent firefighter on the fireground.

If you are QF or below and are directed to maintain minimum staffing at a retained station without a Station Officer or Senior Firefighter also being present at that retained station then contact the Union immediately.

Joint Drug & Alcohol Protocol still in place

The Department’s assault on the Joint D&A Protocol continues with senior Department representatives telling members that the protocol is out of date and requires significant change. Firstly, the Joint D&A Protocol is not “very much out of date”. It remains operative and legally enforceable, as evidenced by Award Clauses 39 (permanent) and 30 (retained).

Secondly, the Union was appalled to discover that the Department has not delivered formal D&A training, which the Protocol itself identifies as pivotal to its success, for some 10 years. The Joint D&A Protocol is a fair, sane and reasonable way of dealing with what is a complex health issue and should be defended. The Union has written to the Department today calling for a meeting of the Alcohol and Drug Safety and Rehabilitation Committee. Members with questions about the D&A protocol should contact the Union.

Retained Community First Responder claim

When the Retained Award was made in 2008, leave was reserved by the IRC for the Union to make a claim in relation to Community First Responder duties. There has been no response from the Department to our proposals thus far, despite the passage of several months. Accordingly, the State Committee resolved at its meeting yesterday to arrange for the filing of an award variation with the IRC that reflects our claim of an increase in the retainer and an adjustment mechanism so that as the number of CFR stations grow so does the Retainer.

In Orders moved to Wednesday – why?

The Union has written to the Department this week asking why In Orders has moved from Fridays to Wednesdays. Given the publication of In Orders has been on Fridays for at least the last 50 years there must be a good reason for abandoning this tradition now – or is it just some more ‘culture change’ by the new regime? Or perhaps it’s because SITREP has taken over Fridays? Until we get to the bottom of this, the Union will now publish SITREP on Wednesdays commencing 1 September.

Jim Casey

State Secretary