November 11, 2011

Inside this issue:

  • O’Farrell attacks Police D&D – firefighters next?
  • S/O Level 2 promotions update
  • Retained summit
  • Anti-Union faxes and flyers on stations
  • Electricity SOGs Training Audit banned

O’Farrell attacks Police D&D – firefighters next? 

The O’Farrell government this week introduced legislation to the Parliament that will, if passed:

(a) terminate the existing industrial award-based scheme for death and disability payments to police officers injured at work or off-duty, and
(b) replace that scheme with entitlements to death and disability payments in accordance with an approved insurance policy, and
(c) amend the Industrial Relations Act 1996 to remove the jurisdiction of the Industrial Relations Commission to make or vary industrial instruments that provide for death and disability payments in respect of police officers.

 This has clear ramifications for the FBEU. If the O’Farrell government can unilaterally bust open and change an Award dealing with Police conditions then there is no reason to expect them not to do the same to other public sector workers.

I met with the President of the Police Association this week to discuss what action they intend to take, and what support we may offer them. Their Executive is meeting today to plan their campaign. More to follow.

S/O Level 2 Promotions Update

SITREP 41/2011 reported that members had been incorrectly advised by the Department that they were not eligible for promotion to S/O Level 2 as had been agreed between the Union and the Department. Correspondence this week from management indicated that the initial advice was based upon a misunderstanding, and that members will be promoted on the dates set out in SITREP 41/2011 – including backpay for any delayed promotions. The dates for relevant classes are:

Class 24 and prior – all members promoted to S/O Level 2 two years after completion of SOPP
Class 25 – all members promoted to S/O Level 2 on 2 October 2011
Class 26 – all members promoted to S/O Level 2 on 18 December 2011
Class 27 – all members promoted to S/O Level 2 on 28 May 2012
Class 28 and onwards – each member promoted to S/O Level 1 upon occurrence of a vacancy, but in any event prior to completion of the following SOPP class, with each member to be promoted to S/O Level 2 two years after promotion to S/O Level 1.

Retained Summit

On Monday 14 November we will see over 80 retained firefighters from around the state attend the Department’s retained summit with the stated aim of improving the retained system.

The Union will participate in the forum and expects it to generate constructive ideas and suggestions regarding the future of the retained system. I look forward to meeting those retained members who will be attending.

Anti-Union faxes and flyers on Stations

Members have been contacting the Union Office asking about the recent spate of anti-Union leaflets that has been arriving on stations. Some of this material has been mailed to individuals, while others have been faxed to workplaces.

What they have in common (apart from being the work of one disgruntled ex-union official) is that they are full of outright lies, plainly defamatory, and have no place in our Union. Worst of all, they give aid and comfort to the employer. I recommend that they be binned upon arrival.

If members want clarification as to what is happening call your local State Committee representative. If you disagree with some aspect of the Union’s work then all members are encouraged to use the many spaces available inside the FBEU for debate, including Sub-Branch meetings, General Meetings, and the Member’s Forum on the Union’s website. The Forum in particular offers a space for open debate, but does not allow gutless anonymous attacks, and it gives all members the opportunity to have a say.

Electricity SOGs Training Audit banned

Commissioner’s Orders 2011/23 saw the release of six new electrical hazard SOGs. Station Commanders were asked to complete an “Electricity SOGs Training Audit” that confirms that training drills have been conducted on each of the new SOGs.

While the Union accepts that operational and safety issues need to be addressed in a timely fashion, the SOGs were released without any training, lesson plans or support offered to stations.  Furthermore, there was no corresponding update to the Station Training Programme.  The creation of the “training audit” is nothing more than management arse covering.

The completion of the Electricity SOGs Training Audit is banned until further notice.  Station Commanders are asked to complete station training on the new SOGs as best they can, given the lack of training support provided by the Department.

Jim Casey
State Secretary