WATER TANKERS UPDATE
September 18, 1998
Whist there is still no agreement at the time of writing, significant progress has been made in negotiations and formal agreement is now expected today. For clarification, the Union has negotiated the following with the Department:
TIME FRAME: It is expected that Liverpool’s, Miranda’s, Revesby’s and Forestville’s tankers will be de-staffed at 0800 hours, Friday 25th September. Because Hornsby’s tanker is to transfer to retained staffing at Berowra and Charlestown’s tanker to the retained staff at Charlestown, permanent staffing will be maintained on both Hornsby’s and Charlestown’s tankers until sufficient retained members have been recruited and/or trained in tanker operations.
EXCESS MEMBERS: Members from each station will be asked to volunteer for placement on the relieving staff. All members who do volunteer for relieving as a result of the tanker de-staffing will receive priority for any new permanent vacancy which occurs on any Platoon in any Station within the Greater Sydney Area (or, in the case of 255, within the Newcastle Fire District) over the coming 12 months. In the event that sufficient members at a Station do not volunteer to move onto relieving, no member will be forced to do so. However, this would then result in Station Platoons being over-strength, causing all members of each over-strength Platoon to then be subject to a direction to perform out-duties. The Department would leave those Stations over strength until all members have completed their 8 out-duties, then shift the excess staff positions elsewhere.
The opening of NW Sydney’s 10/14 Huntingwood Station, the Central Coast’s 10/14 Killarney Vale Station and the 12 new country stations (which will require 78 additional positions) over the next 6 months will create many vacancies within the GSA. It follows that any member who volunteers for relieving now will not have to stay on relieving for long if they do not wish to – particularly when they will have first option on the many vacancies arising over that period.
WATER TANKERS: As discussed above, Hornsby’s tanker is to be transferred to the retained members at Berowra. Similarly, Charlestown’s tanker is to remain at Charlestown but will be transferred to retained staffing, thereby requiring the recruitment of new retained members at that Station.
The Union had originally intended to retain all of Sydney’s 8 permanently staffed tankers by transferral to retained staffing within the GSA. To date 88’s, 86’s and 77’s tankers have all been transferred to retained staffing. The Department is wanting to move all 4 of the remaining Sydney tankers out to the country to replace older appliances whilst the Union is attempting to keep all 4 within the GSA. Negotiations are continuing on this issue, but in order to reach early agreement on the wider country staffing proposal the Union has offered to accept an interim position whereby a further 2 of the remaining 4 water tankers will be kept and staffed by retained members at a yet to be agreed location within Sydney.
LIVERPOOL AND MIRANDA: The Department is to give priority to any member from Miranda who applies for transfer to No 21 Station Kogarah in order to staff Kogarah’s new aerial appliance, and priority to any member from Liverpool who applies to be trained on Liverpool’s new aerial appliance. Training is to commence as soon as possible following the de-staffing of the water tanker and the new aerial appliances are to be commissioned as soon as all necessary training has been completed. The Union has accepted temporary allocations of members to the relieving corps, provided that the temporary relievers will be based at either Miranda or Kogarah, or Liverpool as the case may be. The format of the aerial training itself remains the subject of further discussions.
Because the hydraulic platform will be located at No 85 Station Chester Hill until No 8 Station has undergone the necessary extensions/renovations, the Union is requiring agreement that members assigned to Liverpool’s aerial will be treated as relieving at Chester Hill until Liverpool’s HP can be located at No 8 Station.
REVESBY AND CHARLESTOWN: Members coming off these water tankers will remain in place at their Station, either as their base Station for relieving until such time as they nominate for permanent positions elsewhere within their respective Fire Districts, or as excess staff who will be eligible for out-duties.
HORNSBY AND FORESTVILLE: It is expected that displaced members from Hornsby’s and Forestville’s tankers will spend little if any time relieving. As a separate (but related) issue, the Union is now requiring that Killarney Vale must open on the 10/14 roster by October 30, 1998 and this will require the same number of positions from within the Sydney Fire District as will be surplus through the de-staffing of the tankers. As a result, the “excess” positions coming off the tankers will be used to fill the vacancies caused by central coast transfers.
Whilst next Friday 25th may appear to be sudden, it is in fact almost 3 months after the Union’s rank and file voted to release all of the water tankers upon the receipt of the Department’s full agreement to our Country Staffing Proposal. Agreement between the parties for the Transfer procedure to those new country stations was finalised yesterday, leading to its inclusion within today’s In Orders. The Department’s formal acceptance of our proposal is expected shortly and a separate notice to all members will follow once agreement has been confirmed.
State Secretary Friday 18th September 1998
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