December 19, 2008

Following proceedings before the Industrial Relations Commission this week, the Union and Department have now agreed upon the following guidelines for the use of relievers within Metropolitan Zones. The parties have also agreed that relievers may be directed to relieve anywhere within and between all Regional Zones, provided that individual cases can be reviewed on case-by-case basis, as and when needed.

Members are reminded that these guidelines apply to relievers only. If you are not a reliever then you cannot be directed to relieve outside of your own Fire District unless you are claiming residential priority for a transfer register area, in which case you may be directed (subject to annual out-duty limits) to relieve at any station within that transfer register area.
The Union’s instruction dated 12 December 2008 is therefore rescinded and replaced with the following set of agreed guidelines for relieving within the Metropolitan Operations area:
1. Within Sydney
Relievers based within ME1, ME2, ME3, MS2, MS3, MW1 and MW2 may be directed to relieve within and between those seven Zones.
2. Within Metro North
Relievers based within MN1, MN2 and MN3 may be directed to relieve within and between those three Zones.
3. Within Metro South
Relievers based within MS1, MS2, MS3, ME1 and ME3 may be directed to relieve within and between those five Zones and at any of the following stations:
MW2: 41, 49, 55, 73, 101
4. Within Metro West
Relievers based within MW1, MW2 and MW3 may be directed to relieve within and between those three Zones.
5. Between the Lower
Hunter and Sydney
Relievers based within MN3 may be directed to relieve at 75 (only) and relievers based at 75 (only) within MN3.
6. Between Newcastle
and Sydney
Relievers based within MN1 and ME2 may be directed to relieve between those two Zones and at any of the following stations:
MW1: 43, 63, 71, 94 and 97
MW2: 23, 27, 42, 57, 59, 65 and 67
7. Between the Central
Coast and Sydney
Relievers based within MN2 and ME2 may be directed to relieve between those two Zones and at any of the following stations:
ME1: 1, 3, 4, 10, 11, 13, and 18
ME3: 5, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 22, 28, 52, 62 and 64
MW1: 30, 43, 55, 63, 71, 72, 94, 97
MW2: 23, 27, 42, 57, 59, 65 and 67
MS2: 26, 35 and 39
8. Between Comms
Centres
Relievers attached to Comms Centres may be directed to relieve at an adjacent Comms Centre only.
Members should note that:
Relieving Inspectors may be directed to relieve anywhere.
Nothing in these guidelines acts to prevent a member from electing to relieve or perform out-duties elsewhere.
There is no longer any restriction on the number of relievers (or out-duties) who can be 
“leap-frogged” in order to fill a vacancy.
Simon Flynn
State Secretary Friday 19th December, 2008

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December 12, 2008

The previous 2005 Award’s subclause 12.4 provided that members could not be directed to relieve or perform outduties between or into the Sydney, Newcastle, Gosford, Wyong or Wollongong Fire Districts. However, it also allowed for any member to be directed to relieve outside of those areas (including, for example, at Broken Hill).

The new Award’s subclause 12.4 now provides that members can no longer be directed to relieve or perform outduties anywhere outside their own Fire District unless they are either:
a)dedicated relievers (who are paid the relieving allowance for every shift worked); or
b)claiming residential priority on a transfer register for the area in question (and who will therefore be working closer to home).
The new subclause operates so that with the exception of relievers, every Firefighter and Station Officer member is now better off. Whilst proper management should also result in little if any real downside for relievers, this hasn’t always been the case to date and as a result, the Union is introducing the following rules for relieving members until it can be demonstrated that the new system is being managed appropriately.
Effective immediately, the following instruction is to be observed by all Relieving Firefighter and Station Officer members until advised otherwise by way of further Union notice:
1.    Within SydneySubject to points 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, relievers base-stationed within ME1, ME2, ME3, MS2, MS3, MW1 and MW2 may only be directed to relieve within and between those Zones.
2.    Within Metro NorthSubject to points 5 and 6, relievers base-stationed within MN1, MN2 and MN3 may only be directed to relieve within and between those Zones.
3.    Within Metro SouthFurther to point 1 and subject to point 6, relievers base-stationed within MS1, MS2 and MS3 may also be directed to relieve within and between those Zones.
4.    Within Metro WestFurther to point 1 and subject to point 6,, relievers base-stationed within MW1, MW2 and MW3 may also be directed to relieve within and between those Zones.
5.    Between the Central Coast
and SydneyFurther to points 1 and 2, relievers base-stationed within MN2 and ME2 may also be directed to relieve between those two Zones (only).
6.   Within and between
Regional ZonesFurther to points 1, 2, 3 and 4, all relievers may be directed to relieve within and between any and all Regional Zones unless determined otherwise by the Union on a case-by-case basis. Members who believe that a direction to relieve is unreasonable should contact the Union office for advice.
Continued calls to the Union office indicate that many members (and managers) believe that there is still a Union ban on so-called “leap frogging”. This ban was lifted years ago, and there is no longer any restriction whatsoever on the number of relievers (or out-duties) who can be “leap-frogged” in order to fill a vacancy. Indeed this is exactly what should be happening to relievers now because “leap frogging”, if exercised judiciously and fairly, will remove the need to send any reliever excessive distances – and the need for this instruction.
Simon Flynn
State Secretary

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December 12, 2008


All members are reminded of the fact that the Union’s 98th Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held at 10 am Wednesday 17th December 2008 at the Trades Hall Sydney. The Union will be holding sub branch meetings in Newcastle (260 Stn) 10am Monday 15th, Central Coast (228 Stn) 2pm Monday 15th. Wollongong (503 Stn) 10am Tuesday 16th, Liverpool (8 Stn) 2pm Tuesday 16th and Huntingwood (97 Stn) 6pm Tuesday 16th.
Members also have the right to vote outside these locations provided certain criteria is met.
The Union has now also received legal advice from its Barrister on the likelihood of the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) accepting a station officers sub branch. That advice has confirmed the State Committee of Management’s concerns that the IRC would be highly unlikely to accept a station officers’ sub branch unless station officers could only belong to that sub branch. Alternately the IRC would likely require that all members of the Union were eligible to contest the station officers sub branch position on the State Committee of Management (see website for actual advice).
In the legal advice the Barrister has cited a number of elements of both the state and the federal Industrial Relations Act’s and regulations that are in conflict with the proposal and has cited case law that is incompatible with the proposal put forward. The Union’s State Committee of Management has recommended members not support the motion as follows:
be received and noted but not supported on the following basis;
(i) the current committee of management is comprised of 14 elected officials 7 of these hold the rank of station officer whilst station officer rank members represent just 12% of the Unions entire membership;
(ii) with a position on the Union’s committee of management established specifically for station officer members it would be inappropriate to also allow station officer members eligibility to contest all geographically defined positions on the Union’s committee of management;
(iii) the Union’s committee of management is itself currently seeking to reach a position it can take to the Union’s rank and file that will modernize the Union’s Rules and address the issues of representation, governance and increased participation by members in the Union’s direction and democratic control;
(iv) station officers, captains and firefighters have historically worked closely together and form the very foundation of a fire brigade and indeed of the camaraderie and team work that defines Unionism and the FBEU in particular. The Union’s committee of management believes that separating these ranks into discreet sub branches runs the risk of undermining our unity and creating division in the work place that is likely to be counter productive to our collective interests and dangerous on the fireground.”
Simon Flynn
State Secretary
All members are reminded of the fact that the Union’s 98th Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held at 10 am Wednesday 17th December 2008 at the Trades Hall Sydney. The Union will be holding sub branch meetings in Newcastle (260 Stn) 10am Monday 15th, Central Coast (228 Stn) 2pm Monday 15th. Wollongong (503 Stn) 10am Tuesday 16th, Liverpool (8 Stn) 2pm Tuesday 16th and Huntingwood (97 Stn) 6pm Tuesday 16th.
December 10, 2008


Wednesday 10th December 2008 is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the single most important declaration ever achieved by humanity.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights laid out the foundations of human civilization after the collapse of capitalism caused the 1930’s Great Depression and cast the world’s most powerful economies into the madness of World War II. Seventy million people were killed and hundreds of millions were crippled most of these people were civilians. The world was subjected to mass murder on a scale never before seen in history. A network of eight detention centers spread throughout Europe allowed six million people to be exterminated for their political and religious beliefs. Atomic bombs were dropped on two Japanese cities killing and mutilating hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
In the aftermath of the worse conflict in human history the United Nations was established by its fifty founding states on 24th October 1945. Australia was one of those fifty foundation members and Dr Herbert Vere (Doc) Evatt was elected President of the UN General Assembly at its third session. He remains the only Australian to have held this post. Evatt helped draft and presided over the UN’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948, followed by the Geneva and Genocide Conventions.
Born in East Maitland in 1894 and educated at Fort Street High School, he won bursaries to study at Sydney University, where he graduated with one of the most brilliant academic records ever attained. As well as every other prize on offer, the Doc won the university medal — twice. Evatt is the youngest person ever to have been appointed as a justice of the High Court. He was a member of both the New South Wales (member for Balmain) and the Commonwealth parliaments. He was the Federal Attorney General and Minister for External Affairs for eight years, the Leader of the Opposition for nine years and finally, at the end of his career, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW.
Evatt was amongst the greatest fighters for trade union rights in Australian history. He was instrumental in drafting and adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a blue print for civilization throughout the world that is as relevant today as it was sixty years ago.
Wednesday 10th December 2008 is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the single most important declaration ever achieved by humanity.
December 5, 2008


Most members would by now be aware that a concerted campaign to over turn a State Rescue Board (SRB) decision to decommission eight ambulance rescue units in the Greater Sydney Area has failed. Nine fire brigades will instead carry out the work of the Sydney based ambulance units meaning a safer, more effective and more consistent approach to rescue.
The SRB yesterday recommended that the decision to accredit fire brigades rather than ambulance units should be upheld and this morning Minister for Emergency Services Tony Kelly announced he was adopting the recommendation. Credit should now go where it is due and Commissioner Greg Mullins should be congratulated for standing up for the interests of the NSW Fire Brigades. Credit also to both Minister Tony Kelly and the Secretary of Unions NSW Mark Lennon for standing up to internal factional pressure from within the Australian Labor Party to over turn the decision.
Most importantly of all however is credit to all members of the FBEU for the patience, professionalism and dedication with which we have all carried ourselves. The Government is fully aware of both the sting the FBEU can deliver and the discipline its members can manage in the face of provocation. With the issue of rescue now tucked away we must all try to put this behind us and move forward in working cooperatively and in the interests of the general public.
Our Union has fought for thirty years to deliver the best and most appropriate rescue service possible and today that position has been vindicated. Thank you all for your patience and your support for the Union in a difficult period.
Simon Flynn
State Secretary


Most members would by now be aware that a concerted campaign to over turn a State Rescue Board (SRB) decision to decommission eight ambulance rescue units in the Greater Sydney Area has failed. Nine fire brigades will instead carry out the work of the Sydney based ambulance units meaning a safer, more effective and more consistent approach to rescue. Read more…

November 28, 2008

Firies demand no “flip flop” on rescue from Rees Government

The Fire Brigade Employees Union (FBEU) today said that moves were afoot to return rescue responsibilities to the Ambulance Service and called on the Rees Government to reject the temptation to do a shonky deal that was not in the public interest, in order to placate Labor mates.

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November 27, 2008

As most members would by now be aware the NSW Government has been getting lobbied heavily by the Health Services Union over the decision to replace 8 ambulance rescue units with 9 NSWFB rescue units. The decision to hand over rescue to the fire brigades has been a long time coming and is fully supported by both the FBEU and the Department.

The Union has now held four meetings with ‘Unions NSW’ since the decision was made to hand over these rescue units to firefighters. At every one of these meetings it has strenuously argued that firefighters should be carrying out rescue work and ambulance personnel should be carrying out medical work. The Union has pointed out that while every professional fire brigade in the state is required to carry rescue equipment to cut through bars on windows and doors – fire fighters are now being required to attend to medical emergencies because the ambulance service cannot get sufficient ambulances on the road.
The FBEU has been absolutely clear that the people of NSW should not suffer because the government wants to do favours for its ALP factional mates while people’s lives are at risk. The FBEU has struggled to maintain a disciplined and dignified line on the machinations occurring in the Parliament. Hoping that common sense would prevail and that this government would put the interests of the community over and above grubby political deals.
The dispute over this issue is due for hearing in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission tomorrow Friday November 28th. The Union is now very concerned that despite having the case put very clearly to it on no less than four occasions the government may in fact capitulate to factional lobbying and roll back the decision. The FBEU has written to the judge scheduled to hear the matter and laid out the Union’s position (details available on web site).
The Union is now very concerned that this matter may have very, very serious consequences for the ongoing working relationship between emergency services workers and asks all members to please maintain a calm and measured response what ever the out come tomorrow.
For further details contact your State Committee of Management representative.
Simon Flynn
State Secretary

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November 18, 2008


Members sitting the SOPP Pre-Entry Test on Wednesday 19 November 2008 are entitled to the relevant provisions of Clause 16 of the Crown Employees (NSW Fire Brigades Firefighting Staff) Award 2008.
Members rostered for duty on the night shift prior to the day of the exams (ie “A” Platoon’s last night) will be granted paid leave from 2200 hours to 0800 hours.
Members who are rostered off duty shall be paid at overtime rates (see clause 16.10.1.2).
Members who are on annual or long service leave will be re-credited with the appropriate leave for the time spent attending the exams (see clause 16.10.1.1).
Time spent attending the examination is time worked. The provisions of clause 9.9 (requiring an eight hour break) apply in conjunction with clause 16.11, therefore those members who are rostered for night shift on the day of the exam should stand-off until they have had an 8 hour break from the conclusion of the final exam they attend. For example, if you finish an exam at 1600 hours and are rostered to start at 1800 hours that day, you should stand-off until midnight without loss of pay. If, however, you completed the examination at (say) 1700 hours then you would stand-off until 0100 hours the next day.
If your travelling time to and from the exam venue exceeds two hours each way, or if the return distance from your residence to the venue exceeds 175kms, you are entitled to either be provided accommodation by the Department, or to the accommodation allowance prescribed by clause 26.4.1.
Meal allowances, excess fares and travelling time may also be payable in line with Clause 26 – Travelling Compensation.
Simon Flynn
State Secretary
Members sitting the SOPP Pre-Entry Test on Wednesday 19 November 2008 are entitled to the relevant provisions of Clause 16 of the Crown Employees (NSW Fire Brigades Firefighting Staff) Award 2008.
November 18, 2008

The Union’s 98th Annual General Meeting will be held at the Trades Hall, 377-383 Sussex Street, Sydney commencing at 10.00am on Wednesday 17th December 2008.

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November 18, 2008

The Union’s 98th Annual General Meeting will be held at the Trades Hall, 377-383 Sussex Street, Sydney commencing at 10.00am on Wednesday 17th December 2008. Read more…

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