June 19, 2018

Inside this issue:

  • Recall Kilometres dispute: Department concedes  – Industrial action suspended

Recall kilometres dispute:
Department concedes – industrial action suspended

Key points:

  • Department agrees to pay recall kms back to Nov 2014
  • Planned industrial action suspended
  • Members again advised to submit claims

The Department’s continued refusal to pay all outstanding recall kilometre entitlements eventually led to last Friday’s SitRep 17 instruction to all Union members that from 0800 hours today the only stop code to be given for any and all Automatic Fire Alarm calls that are not ‘working’ jobs was to be the (non-chargeable) code 702 – the intention being to hurt the Department financially until our members were paid. Members were then advised by Code Red last evening that the instruction, and industrial action, had been placed on hold pending an urgent meeting to be held between the Union and Department this morning.

It took us three months, eight SitReps, two conferences, two letters and ultimately the threat of statewide industrial action, but at this morning’s meeting the Department finally conceded that the Union was “technically” correct about the operation of subclause 9.8, and therefore agreed to pay our members.

Things went somewhat backwards at the IRC hearing that followed at 1130 hours, with the Department objecting to the Union’s accusations of wage theft, repeating its complaints about greedy firefighters and calling this dispute “a new low for the Union” and “a grubby low act” before finally agreeing to pay members according to (it’s interpretation of) the Award.

The Department’s feigned offence is neither here nor there. Of more interest to us is what it does now.

The Union nominated a deadline of 19 July (four weeks from this Thursday) for all outstanding payments to be made. The Union also reminded both the Department and the IRC that recall kilometres do not require the member to submit a claim – rather, they must be paid by the employer regardless, and every failure to do so is a breach of the Award for which the Department can be prosecuted. The Union nonetheless recommends that any member who has performed a recall since 14 November 2014 should check our advice in SitRep 3 and claim accordingly. We also recommend that members send a copy of each claim (by fax or email) to the Union, as we will be monitoring the backpay process and undertaking inspections of the Department’s wage records.

The Industrial Relations Commission will also be oversighting the progress of the backpay, with a report back scheduled for Thursday 12 July. The bans that were scheduled to be implemented today remain suspended.

Leighton Drury
State Secretary

For a print version of this SitRep click here.