October 24, 2008

Today’s In Orders announce the introduction of refreshment packs and fresh incident catering for fourth alarm and greater calls. The Union has been consulted throughout the development of this proposal and agrees that in all instances the provision of food is preferable to the payment of the relevant allowances. Given the change in arrangements for providing refreshments and meals and the onset of the Bushfire period where extended incidents become more prevalent, the Union thought is was timely to remind members of all of their entitlements relating to fire ground meals.

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October 20, 2008

Bans imposed at 1800 hours Friday 19 September are lifted effectively 12:30 today.

October 16, 2008


After over thirteen years of safe and effective minimum crewing levels for every professional fire brigade throughout the State, the Department is now set to publish ‘In Order 2008/22’ on Friday October 17th. This is a single issue In Order with the sole and express purpose of undermining minimum crewing levels and shutting up to 34 brigades throughout NSW. The Union will again make it absolutely clear that no pumper in the NSW is to leave its station unless a minimum of four members is available to respond from that brigade – this includes every retained brigade in NSW.
Our Union won safe and effective minimum crewing for permanent members in 1983 and for retained members in 1995. We won these standards because we campaigned hard for them and because ours is an industry that involves unavoidable risks. Those risks can only be covered by having two firefighters available on the fire-ground for every two firefighters inside a burning building or Hazmat hot zone.
No amount of cost cutting, pager sharing or allegations of rorting will mitigate the risks that each of us are exposed to should management succeed in winding back minimum crewing.
The safe minimum crewing level of four firefighters is an internationally recognized standard and has delivered us one of the lowest rates of death or injury amongst fire services throughout the world.
The Department now looks certain to finally publish the list of brigades that the Department referred to as ‘superfluous’ in 2006. The list includes all thirty four brigades the Department proposes to close rather than recruit additional retained firefighters or supplement staffing levels through the use of permanent or retained firefighters. In the time since the NSW Industrial Relations Commission first handed the Department authority to no longer fully staff all brigades throughout NSW, the FBEU has been very clear and very up front in refusing to accept brigades being closed. Each of these brigades provides an essential service to its community and no amount of budget cut backs can justify closing fire brigades.
It should come as no surprise to any member of this Union that at the very time the Premier of NSW is calling for Government Departments to reduce costs we are told brigades must close. The Premier should now make the tough call on shutting front line fire brigades or slicing through the layers of senior public service fat cats.
Any member concerned that your brigade is now be facing closure should contact the Union’s retained sub branch secretary firefighter Darren Maxwell 404 Station New Lambton on:
Mobile: 0408 027 155 or brigade 4952 8855
Simon Flynn
State Secretary


After over thirteen years of safe and effective minimum crewing levels for every professional fire brigade throughout the State, the Department is now set to publish ‘In Order 2008/22’ on Friday October 17th. This is a single issue In Order with the sole and express purpose of undermining minimum crewing levels and shutting up to 34 brigades throughout NSW. The Union will again make it absolutely clear that no pumper in the NSW is to leave its station unless a minimum of four members is available to respond from that brigade – this includes every retained brigade in NSW. Read more…

October 14, 2008

Fresh from a roasting in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission the Department has now started rolling out a series of new hair brained schemes aimed at pushing firefighters out into new roles, new responsibilities and new work. The latest of these is the plan to get firefighters door knocking senior citizens in Department of Housing premises in Western Sydney handing out fire safety advice and conducting inspections of hydrant systems.

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October 13, 2008

On 25 November 2005, negotiations between the Union and Department led to agreement for the six old turntable ladder, HP and rescue monitor qualification and driving allowances to be replaced by two new “Major” and “Minor” aerial qualification allowances. It was also agreed that the old ladder and rescue monitor qualification allowances (only) would continue to be paid to those members who were no longer at an aerial station and who would not therefore be entitled to receive the new “Major” or “Minor” allowances.

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October 9, 2008


Following settlement of the Union’s wage campaign the Department has now commenced paying the new 2008 Awards’ rates of pay and allowances on and from Friday 26 September, so the increased rates should first appear in all members’ pays today, Thursday 9 October. The Department has also advised the Union that it will be making a one off lump sum payment for the 16 weeks of back-pay between Friday 20 June 2008 and Thursday 25 September on Thursday 23 October (ie, next pay day).
In accordance with the Union’s registered rules, Union membership dues have also now increased in line with these latest wage increases. Union subscriptions have increased 2.1%
·     for permanent firefighters, from $21.60 to $22.06 per fortnight; and
·     for retained firefighters, from $4.33 to $4.42 per fortnight.
Members are again reminded that your Union dues are recognised by the Australian Tax Office as work related expenses and therefore fully tax deductible.
Further to this the Union is now working on establishing just how much back pay permanent members are entitled to when called in to work to make up safe minimum crewing levels. The Union initially won a court case that established a minimum of four hours pay in these circumstances during 2006. The Department appealed against this decision and lost the appeal in 2007, then appealed again in 2008 and lost a second and final appeal.
In handing down its decision on the second appeal the court established a series of prerequisite conditions that must be satisfied in order that members can be entitled to the minimum four hour payment. The Union has now arranged a meeting with the Department for Wednesday 15th October. Hopefully this will avoid further needlessly expensive legal disputes and instead see the money put into funding and resourcing front line fire services.
Members who are interested in reading the judgement in case number 246 of 2008 – the second and final appeal against members entitlements can find that decision on the internet
http://caselaw.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/search.html
Simon Flynn
State Secretary

Following settlement of the Union’s wage campaign the Department has now commenced paying the new 2008 Awards’ rates of pay and allowances on and from Friday 26 September, so the increased rates should first appear in all members’ pays today, Thursday 9 October. The Department has also advised the Union that it will be making a one off lump sum payment for the 16 weeks of back-pay between Friday 20 June 2008 and Thursday 25 September on Thursday 23 October (ie, next pay day). Read more…

September 25, 2008

New Awards are now in force for both Permanent and Retained firefighters throughout NSW. Both new Awards have delivered increases of 4.6%, 4% and 4%, will run for three years, and have been awarded by the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) through a ‘Work Value’ case.

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September 25, 2008

Recent comments in the national print media sledging firefighters for working more than the 40 hours required under the Award have been an unfortunate conclusion to a very bitter and acrimonious wage campaign. The comments – driven home on a methodical and strategic basis through a series of talk back radio programs have caused enormous distress to firefighters across New South Wales. This is wrong and it should stop now.

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September 19, 2008

New three year Awards for permanent and retained firefighters were made by the Industrial Relations Commission this afternoon.

While a separate notice discussing the result and ramifications of the new awards will be issued shortly, the absence of backpay to the start of the new Awards on 18 June is an issue that will not wait. Read more…

September 18, 2008

The Government’s decision to disband the Ambulance Rescue Service and hand these rescue units over to the NSWFB has now been standing for over two weeks. In that time a number of very serious allegations have been publicly leveled against firefighters. These have included claims that FBEU members have refused to respond to calls, mismanaged rescues and simply don’t have the skills required to carryout the job. This is clearly a smear campaign with no basis in fact and ultimately not in the interests of ambulance officers, firefighters or the general public.

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