Negotiations have continued between the Union and Department, with meetings being held on January 10, 12, 13, 19, 28 and again yesterday, February 2. Considerable progress is being made and both parties are confident of reaching agreement on a new permanent Award by the target date of 24 February.
Following below is a brief summary on the status of the major Award issues:
Main Union Claims
The inclusion of 10/14 rostered O/T into an all-up rate of pay. The Dept. has reserved its position here, citing high cost as a reason for “further analysis”.
A new super’ commitment, and top-up in FSS employer contributions. We agreed to temporarily set these claims to one side in view of the ongoing negotiations over the D&D issue.
Clause 13 and S/O promotions. Agreement has been reached on our claim for this clause, meaning all existing LFs will be promoted off the list prior to any new SOPP graduates. Trade offs will be a return to limited acting-up and a requirement that LF’s undertake 2 weeks additional training (not assessments) prior to promotion. The SOPP system will still start within 12 months.
Rescue Allowance. In-principle agreement now exists on our claim for a rescue allowance for all SRB accredited members, with payment to be on a “per rostered shift” basis. The allowance itself will fall somewhere between $22.65 (our claim) and $4.65 (their current offer). Discussions continue.
Special Duties. The parties have reached agreement on a new clause to cover “special duties” positions. A copy can be faxed directly to interested members.
12% over 3 years wage claim, the tricky one. They’ve offered the public sector deal of 16% over 4.5 years and like the Teachers, we’ve rejected it outright. We expect to know more after a meeting with Treasury officials this Friday.
Main Departmental Claims
The Department is seeking a number of reforms, including the abolition of the relieving corps and return to unlimited out-duties, mixed/optional crewing, selective retained response, holding exams and assessments on shift, ultra-flexible “unit-trainers”, extending the refreshment allowance to 2.5 hours and a new “major emergency roster” to cover protracted incidents such as Thredbo and the Sydney Hailstorm. Some we might live with, others we definitely won’t!
Negotiations on both the permanent and retained Awards resume Monday 7/2.