Award negotiations update #3
February 18, 2000
In Update #2 we reported that we were hopeful agreement for a new Award would be reached by the target date of 24 February. Regrettably, the chances of this now happening appear to be slim. The 2nd $350 payment was (and in our opinion, still is) scheduled to be made to all permanent members this coming Thursday, although the Department is refusing to pay until we settle the new Award. The latest position is summarised below.
Wages: The Government is holding to its position of 16% over 4.5 years. The Union, after meeting Treasury officials this week returned yesterday with a counter claim of 17% over 4 years (5% up front, and 6 lots of 2% every 6 months). We are now waiting on their response.
Abolition of the Relieving Corps: Rejected by the Union.
Conducting all CBT assessments on shift rather than on days off: Agreed in principle, subject to the Department accepting our costing of a $2.3M saving.
Emergency/Disaster Roster: The Department wanted a new “emergency” roster for Thredbo/Hailstorm-style incidents to save on O/T. We found this bizarre given that we are an emergency service which therefore already has emergency rosters, and promptly said no.
Personal Development System: The Department wants a reporting system for all officers, but is yet to develop it. We are not agreeing to this (or anything else) sight unseen.
Standard Shift: The Department wants a full list of all daily duties for ff’s introduced. We’ve asked them for a draft, which they’re now working on. A doubtful proposal.
Probation: The Department was hoping to extend the probation period from 6 to 12 months, presumably to be able to sack more recruits. Flatly rejected by us.
Incident Refreshment Allowance: A dodgy attempt by the Department to extend the refreshment allowance qualification by 30 mins to 2.5 hours. Rejected outright.
Unit Trainers: The Department wants on-shift ff’s to act as trainers in rescue, aerial appliances, driving, fire prevention – everything! A double barrel windfall for the Department, training other members on-shift rather than off-line (ie no o/t) whilst reducing/removing the need for dedicated trainers. Union saying no, bar for rescue u/t’s.
Mixed and Flexible Crewing: The Department’s proposal to split S/O & 3 crews across multiple appliances and to mix permanent and retained crews. Rejected by the Union.
Staff Reallocation: The Department wants to de-staff the watchrooms at No’s. 1, 86 and 88 Stn’s and to close 55 Stn. in return for new ff jobs elsewhere. Negotiations continue.
Rescue Allowance: The Union’s demand for a rescue allowance for SRB qualified members agreed to – bar the amount! Dept. is continuing to hold its to position of $4.55 per shift.
Inclusion of 10/14 rostered O/T in superable pay: This Union demand is being strongly resisted by the Department, and is unlikely to be resolved through these current negotiations.
New Position Descriptions: Agreed in principle (subject, of course, to content).
Implementation of USAR: Agreed.
Introduction of FRFV: Otherwise known as the Brigades’ proposed boat. Agreed.
Special Duties: In-principle agreement on Union’s Cl. 14, although $’s yet to be finalised.
Changes to FSD Rankings: Tentative agreement to include FSD & FIU in Special Duties, provided new Inspector positions are created (10/14 in N7 & NW2, 9 Country Inspectors).
Fire Prevention Duties: The Department’s proposal to expand and formalise fire prevention activities for all ff’s, becoming compulsory not voluntary. Tentative agreement.
We’ll be pushing hard in the coming week for a settlement by the 24th, but it appears more likely that we’ll find ourselves in open dispute again by week’s end. The State Committee meets next Friday, and a SGM is expected shortly thereafter (notice to follow separately).