December 2, 2017

Inside this issue:

  • e-Recalls initiative – update #2
  • FRNSW identity
  • And identity theft

e-Recalls initiative – update #2

Our last update on e-recall negotiations back in June’s SITREP 22 concluded with the observation that the Union isn’t looking for a fight with the Department over recalls, just a better system.” Five months later and we pretty much ended up with neither. The exchanges that followed were partially successful (for example, we managed to extend the Department’s proposed 30km limit to 40 kms) and we continue to see real problems with their system, but it is impossible to know for certain before it is implemented. Rather than continue to lock horns for another half year, this week’s monthly State Committee meeting decided to let the Department trial its recall system (there’s not much “e” about their version) subject to a joint review after 6 months. So it’s over to them, and to you, because the Union’s position going into that review will be determined by our members’ experience and feedback.

FRNSW identity

Rumours were already circulating about new names, logos, uniforms and the like for FRNSW before this week’s Commissioner’s Corner 676 confirmed the Department is “also in the process of refreshing the organisation’s identity to further elevate the public’s view and understanding of who we are and what we do. The refreshed identity is being developed in consultation with staff from all areas and levels FRNSW. Over 700 people have been involved so far. Stay tuned for more details in the next CC-677…”

The FBEU has an obvious interest in how the public view firefighters and met with the Department’s branding consultants earlier this year. The Union also intervened back in 2010 to ensure the new FRNSW name prevailed over management’s preference for NSW Fire and Rescue Service (NSWFRS), which sounded a bit too 1970’s and far too much like the NSWRFS for our liking. The Union has no intention of leaving any “refreshing” of our job and our identity solely to management, and has asked to be briefed and consulted on the process to date as soon as possible.

And identity theft

Staying with how the public views firefighters and Commissioner’s Corner, another CC item this week claimed that FRNSW has donated a whopping $80,000 to the Burns Unit at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead,”followed by the minor detail that “The funds were raised by firefighters and staff”. Not that you’d know it from the photo, which showed the FRNSW Commissioner flanked by five senior officers holding a very large cheque of what the public could be expected to think was an FRNSW grant, but was in reality the FRNSW workforce’s (ie your) hard-earned fortnightly payroll deductions.

NSWFB and FRNSW firefighters, trades and admin employees have contributed millions of dollars to the Burns Unit over many decades of payroll deductions, and for most of that time senior management has been photographed presenting these cheques on behalf of the employer, not the workers. It is time for this misrepresentation to end, and for future presentations to instead be made by on-shift fire crews, clerks and mechanics who genuinely represent the employees who actually raise these funds.

And finally, the Union’s 2016/17 Financial Report is now available by clicking here.

Leighton Drury
State Secretary

For a print version of this SITREP click here.