February 16, 2017
  • February SGM results
  • New Awards made this afternoon

February SGM results

 The February SGM to vote on new Permanent and Retained Awards concluded midday today following over one hundred separate meetings across NSW, with the Union’s President declaring the result on each question as follows:

Question 1. Retained Award

“That the draft FRNSW Retained Firefighting Staff Award 2017 that was posted to the Union’s website as an attachment to SITREP 04/2017 on 9 February be received and endorsed and that a new award be made on those terms.”

For – 844
Against – 150
Abstain – 689

CARRIED

Question 1a. Retained Award

“That a new FRNSW Retained Firefighting Staff Award 2017 be made on the same terms as the current 2016 Award, save for the adjustment of wages and allowances by 2.5% pa and the operation of the new award for 36 months instead of 12 months, provided that if Question 1 is also declared carried then the award (Q1 or Q1a) endorsed by the membership shall be the award that receives the highest percentage of ‘yes’ votes out of the total number of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ votes (not abstentions) cast on each question.”

For – 201
Against – 740
Abstain – 723

LOST

Question 2. Permanent Award

 “That the draft FRNSW Permanent Firefighting Staff Award 2017 that was posted to the Union’s website as an attachment to SITREP 06/2017 on 14 February be received and endorsed and that a new award be made on those terms.”

For – 342
Against – 777
Abstain – 381

LOST

Question 2a. Permanent Award

“That a new FRNSW Permanent Firefighting Staff Award 2017 be made on the same terms as the current 2016 Award, save for the adjustment of wages and allowances by 2.5% pa and the operation of the new award for 36 months instead of 12 months, provided that if Question 2 is also declared carried then the award (Q2 or Q2a) endorsed by the membership shall be the award that receives the highest percentage of ‘yes’ votes out of the total number of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ votes (not abstentions) cast on each question.”

For – 761
Against – 326
Abstain – 397

CARRIED

 New Awards made this afternoon

The Union’s applications for new Permanent and Retained Awards were heard and approved by the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW late this afternoon. The making of the new three year Awards prior to the expiration of the current Awards means that all members will now receive a 2.5% increase in wages and allowances tomorrow, 17 February, that will appear in members’ pays on 2 March.

Consistent with the SGM decision, the 2017 Permanent Award adjusts the rates and dates and makes only minor typographical corrections or clarifications. The previously agreed changes to eligibility for country officer and Operational Support positions were also made, as per the Notes to the 2016 Award.

The 2017 Retained Award also adjusts the rates and dates with various minor amendments and clarifications, but many of the housekeeping-type changes were withdrawn in order to secure the Department’s agreement. The main new features of the 2017 Retained Award are the insertion of minimum Authorised Duties hours, an enforceable right to two regular drills per month, an increase in the minimum payment for Relief Duties from 2 to 3 hours, and the ability to take up to 10 single days of annual leave each year.

Missing for now from the 2017 Retained Award are the new Senior Firefighter rank, the Service Allowances and the changed Overtime provisions. All three reforms were pressed by the Union and eventually agreed to by the Department, but the NSW Government’s industrial relations laws prohibit the IRC from allowing any new award conditions that are not funded by other employee-related savings. These gains remain agreed, but they cannot be inserted into the Award until the required cost savings (worth between 1.5% and 2% of the Retained wage bill) are identified, or are otherwise approved by the NSW Government. I will be meeting with our new Minister to discuss this shortly.

Leighton Drury
State Secretary

For a printable copy of this SITREP, please click here.