Correspondence: Award commitments

March 6, 2000

6th March, 2000

Mr. Ian MacDougall
New South Wales Fire Brigades

Dear Sir,

Re: 1997 Award Commitments

I refer to the meeting held between representatives of the Department, the Public Sector Management Office and the Union on Friday 3 March 2000. The Union now seeks to confirm the status of the commitments arising from the 1997 Crown Employees (NSW Fire Brigades Firefighting Staff) Award.

The Union understands that it has now been agreed between the parties that the following commitments either have or are in an advanced stage of being met, in which case they are no longer at issue.

5.2.1     The implementation of Competency Based Training on and from 1 January 1998 unless, on the advice of the Curriculum Advisory Committee referred to in Clause 13, Progression and Promotion Provisions, the Commissioner is satisfied that such an operative date would be premature.

5.2.2    A commitment to the further development and implementation of an agreed system of Merit Based Promotion with a significant step in this process being the provisions prescribed in subclauses 13.9.4 and 13.11.4.

5.2.3    The Department and the Union have agreed to the concept of separate rates of pay and, where appropriate, separate conditions of employment applying to the occupants of Special Duties Positions. However, such separate rates of pay and conditions of employment will only be introduced following the Department and the Union arriving at an acceptable package. The job evaluation of Special Duties Positions is to be completed by 1 September 1997. Provided this target date is met, any retrospectivity of rates of pay will apply from the beginning of the first pay period to commence on or after 1 January 1997.

5.2.5    To introduce and implement the Incident Control System by December 1997.

5.2.7    That during the first 6 months of this Award, the parties will initiate a joint review of the hours worked by, and the delegations of, Executive Officers.

5.2.8    If any variation is made to the State Public Sector Standard for Personal/Carer’s Leave, then, providing the parties can reach agreement, Clause 22 of this Award shall be similarly varied. If agreement cannot be reached then leave is reserved to either party to apply to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission for a variation of Clause 22.

5.2.9    During the first 12 months of this Award, to assess, on a consultative basis, the impact of the trial of a maximum of three unsupported sick leave absences per year.

5.2.11    With respect to Training and Staff Development, the Department and the Union agree that during the first 12 months of this Award, guidelines will be developed on a consultative basis concerning non-essential courses. In this regard, it is accepted by both the Department and the Union that non-essential courses may not always be approved for all employees.

5.2.12    The Department and the Union are to complete a review of allowances, with the emphasis on incorporating as many as possible into a composite rate of pay, within 12 months of the date of operation of this Award.

5.2.13    To investigate the incidence and reasons of overpayments/underpayments with the aim of establishing agreed procedures to rectify identified problems.

It follows that there remain three commitments from the 1997 Award on which the parties are yet to reach agreement. The Union’s comment on each follows immediately below the relevant sub-clause.

5.2.4    To engage a consultant, agreed to by the Department and the Union, to develop, within two years of the date of making this Award, a new superannuation scheme for employees. Such development to be in consultation with other NSW Emergency Services organisations, the Treasury and Premiers’ Department.

This is a commitment obviously favourable to the Union more so than the employer, yet it remains the only commitment which remains unfulfilled.

5.2.6    The parties agree to jointly conduct an examination of the causal factors and possible remedies to the high incidence of overtime.

The Union notes the Department’s correspondence of 1 February 2000 inviting the FBEU to nominate a representative to participate in the newly-established “Staff Attendance Work Group”. Notwithstanding previous Union correspondence concerning this particular commitment and our assertion that it is has already been discharged in full, the Union accepts your invitation to participate and nominates State Committee of Management member Mr Jim Gillen as our representative. It is expected that this will address in full the commitment in question.

5.2.10    The further development and implementation of a Personal Development System on a consultative basis, with a view to implementation during the life of this Award.

This particular commitment has long since been satisfied in full, as evidenced by the attached correspondence between the Department and Union. It can be seen that the Department accepted all of the Union’s terms, including our requirement that the 12 month trial of the PDS would satisfy and fully discharge all of the Union’s responsibilities under sub-clause 5.2.10 of the Award. It can also be seen that the Department agreed to conclude the trial by 31 December 1998, and to take no further action in regard to this or any similar proposal without the agreement of the Union.

The Union is therefore of the view that all of the commitments arising from the 1997 Award have been discharged, save for the commitment for a new firefighters’ superannuation scheme at sub-clause 5.2.4. The Union seeks the Department’s agreement that this is now the case.

You would be aware that the Union had originally sought the insertion of a new clause within the successor Award in order to continue to give effect to the as-yet unfulfilled commitment at sub-clause 5.2.4. Bearing in mind the undertaking provided to us last Friday that there would be a further meeting between the parties convened by no later than Wednesday 8 March, your advice is now sought as to how Government proposes to conclude this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Chris Read
State Secretary

18th June, 1997

Mr. Ian MacDougall
New South Wales Fire Brigades
PO Box A249

Dear Sir,

Re: Professional Development Plan (Your Ref: CHO/03236)

I refer to your correspondence concerning the subject matter dated May 27 last, and advise that the Union’s State Committee of Management considered same at its meeting of June 13.

The State Committee resolved to accept, in principle, the concept of the Professional Development Plan (PDP), subject to the Department’s acceptance of the following points:

1.    That the proposed PDP be contained strictly to the ranks of Superintendent and Chief Superintendent;

2.    That all members in the above ranks be included, ie. that participation be compulsory;

3.    That such agreement is to be strictly conditional on Departmental acceptance that the Union’s responsibilities under 5.2.10 of the permanent’s Award be considered satisfied and met in full;

4.    That the trial is to last for twelve months;

5.    That upon the expiration of twelve months, a joint review is to be undertaken with no further implementation of the Plan until the results of that joint review are known; and

6.    That should the Union not agree during or following the conduct of that review, the Department shall agree and accept that no further action shall be taken in regard to this or any other similar proposal until such time as joint agreement exists.

It should be noted that the Union has agreed only to the concept of the PDP being trialed (subject to the Department’s acceptance of the above points). As the Plan has yet to be fully assessed by the Union, further discussion on the detail of the proposed Plan may be necessary prior to its implementation. The Union’s Senior Industrial Officer, Mr Paul Good, will be the contact officer in relation to finalisation of an agreed PDP prior to the commencement of the trial.

I invite you or your representatives to contact Mr Good in order to progress this matter further. In the meantime, the Union shall look forward to your earliest advice of the Department’s concurrence with the Union’s position at Points 1 to 6 above, which it was indicated would be the case by your representatives at our meeting of Thursday, 12 June 1997. Assuming such agreement exists, and that there are few (if any) amendments to the Plan as initially proposed, I would be willing to convey the Union’s support for the trial directly to the Union members amongst the target group.

Yours faithfully,

Chris Read
State Secretary

29 September 1997

Mr C. Read Secretary
NSWFB Employees’ Union
267 Sussex Street

Our Ref: CHO/03236

Dear Chris,

Re: Professional Development Plan

I refer to your previous correspondence dated 18 June 1997 regarding the Department’s proposal to implement a Professional Development Plan.

I note that the State Committee has accepted in principle the concept of the Professional Development Plan subject to the Department’s concurrence on a number of points. The points raised by the Union are agreed.

I would appreciate that should there be any major issues raised concerning the Performance Development Plan in the initial 12 month trial that those concerns be brought to my attention as soon as practicable. This process will allow them to be addressed and resolved between the parties.

It is envisaged that the Performance Development Plan will commence on 1 January 1998 for all Chief Superintendents and Superintendents. An In Order will be promulgated in the near future outlining this proposal for all personnel.

Should you require further clarification in regard to this matter I suggest that you contact Chief Superintendent Benson on 9318 4304 in the first instance.

Yours sincerely,

K. Thompson
Acting Commissioner



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