What’s happening with the D&D Dispute? It’s a good question, yet all we can confirm here and now is that we have struck some problems and that negotiations are continuing. Your officials are aware that time is rapidly running out between now and next year’s State election, and with that in mind the State Committee this week fixed a deadline of 29 November for all of the necessary details to be finalised. Members at this year’s AGM will therefore be voting on a final D&D agreement or renewed industrial action. Members should remain quietly confident of the former, yet fully prepared for the latter. More to follow…
Industrial disputes – who’s to blame?
A couple of weeks back, the Commissioner accused your Union of “reaching for the financial club the as a first reflex action” after the Union’s recent bans over the 2002 Fire Brigade Regulation “ran for only a few days but cost in the vicinity of $250,000”.
The fact is that that for every dispute which ends in bans, there are many 100’s more which we resolve through negotiation. As for that Regs dispute, when we asked for more time to negotiate, the Department refused and said “we’ll just have to agree to disagree”. It was only after the Department had ended all further discussions and attempted to ram the disputed Regs through that we finally brought out the big stick. The end result was that the 1997 Regs were extended for another year so further negotiations could take place. Needless to say if the Commissioner thinks costly disputes like this could be avoided, then we agree 100%!
Meals and Refreshments
Some of the NSWFB task forces which were formed over the last fortnight were issued with “hot packs” of food to trial in the field. The Union agreed to this trial only on the condition that the “hot packs” were in addition to, rather than as replacement for, the Award’s meal and/or refreshment allowances. Members are therefore advised to claim accordingly.
At the same time, the Department arranged for a carton of beef and vegetable stew “hot packs” to be delivered to our office for State Committee of Management officials to try. The concept was certainly impressive – a self contained meal which heated itself in only 12 minutes, and yet could be kept on appliances for years on end. I can, however, personally attest to the fact that the meals were seriously crap and verged on the inedible. Not surprising really – after all, what sort of meat keeps un-refrigerated for 5 years?!
The Union’s AGM will be held on Thurs 12 December 2002 – full details next week..
The Union and Dept. this week reached agreement on a Special Roster S/O for Richmond by February 2003, and the 10/14 Roster for Orange by June 2003.
The “Air Attack 1” helicopter announced this week by the Premier may be jointly badged Police/NSWFB, but it will not be jointly used. We are assured that either the FB will use it, or the Police will use it, but it will definitely not be used by both at the same time.
The Victorian UFU today won a 20% wage increase over the next 3 years for Melbourne’s firefighters. It was only on Tuesday that a strike was averted at the last minute.