Elections 2003 and more

April 9, 2003

Inside this notice:

  • Elections 2003
  • D&D Award in force
  • Department says no – Union and IRC say yes
  • In Brief

Union Elections 2003

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has today declared the following seven candidates elected unopposed to the Union’s State Committee of Management (SCOM) for the coming three year 2003-2006 term:

SCOM Office                                                   Member elected

President                                                            SNOW, Darryl John

State Secretary                                                   READ, Christopher Scott

Sydney North Sub-Branch Secretary                HOOK, Clive Emanuel

Sydney North West Sub-Branch Secretary       HARRIS, Craig Anthony

Sydney South West Sub-Branch Secretary       MURRAY, Matthew

Newcastle Sub-Branch Secretary                      MARTIN, James Francis

Illawarra Sub-Branch Secretary                        PALOFF, Mark William

The AEC will now conduct a postal ballot of all financial members of the Union for the seven remaining State Commmittee of Management positions, as follows:

SCOM Office                                                  Candidates

Junior Vice President                                     KINSELA, Robert

                                                                           GILLEN, James Shaun

Junior Vice President                                     BOXX, Adam

                                                                           CASEY, James

                                                                           WILLIAMS, Mark George

                                                                           HENRY, Glenn Vincent

Sydney South Sub-Branch Secretary        JOHNSEN, Michael Frederick

                                                                           BOXX, Adam

                                                                           O’CONNOR, Kevin John

Central Coast Sub-Branch Secretary         MACBAIN, Kerry

                                                                           SUNDSTROM, Jeffrey Ian

                                                                            SMITH, Kenneth Michael

Country Sub-Branch Secretary                    O’CONNOR, Daniel Francis

                                                                            ZIKAN, Wayne

Senior Officers’ Sub-Branch Secretary       GRAY, David Roy

                                                                            O’CONNOR, Greg

Retained Sub-Branch Secretary                  LEWIS, George Terrence

                                                                           MAXWELL, Kenneth John

                                                                           MATTHEWS, Gregory John

The AEC will post your voting material to the address shown in the Union’s records on Tuesday 22 April. The ballot will close at 5pm on Wednesday 7 May 2003. Members are urged to notify the Union of any change of address. If you are not sure, then you can check if the Union has your current address by phoning Alison or Jenny at the Union Office on 9267 5552.

D&D Award in force

The Crown Employees (NSW Fire Brigades Firefighting Staff Death and Disability) Award 2003 was made by the IRC last Friday, officially coming into force two weeks prior on Friday 21 March.

Whilst the D&D Superannuation Fund (from which the death and TPI payments will come) is yet to be established, this is expected to occur within the next 6-8 weeks after we’ve finalised the Fund’s Trust Deed with the Government. It follows that all outstanding payments – which are already in excess of $15M due to the agreement that all former members would be covered back to 1997- are expected to begin before the end of the current financial year.

Although the D&D Award is now force, member contributions will not commence before all members have been given the option to salary sacrifice for those contributions. Discussions are continuing with the Department on this and related issues, and further information will be circulated as it comes to hand.

For SASS members, the Union has engaged independent consultants to prepare a separate information sheet to allow you to make an informed decision on your D&D options. That information should hopefully be out and about before the end of the next week – well before the end of the 3 month period you have to make your decision.

Congratulations again to all members on a well fought and very successful 5 year D&D campaign.

Department says no – Union and IRC say yes

A precedent-setting judgment of Justice Boland in the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW shows that for permanent members entitled to the relevant provisions of Clause 29 Transferred Employees Compensation of the Award, early repayment fees imposed by banks or other financial institutions are reimbursable where that fee arises from, or is necessary for, the discharge of a mortgage.

Having got nowhere in negotiations, the Union eventually took the Department to the IRC over its refusal to reimburse a member over $4000 in early repayment fees on a fixed rate home loan. The member in question had sold his Sydney property after transferring to Broken Hill and purchasing a property there, thereby becoming entitled to the relevant provisions of Clause 29 of the Award. The dispute was formally arbitrated in December 2002.

At the hearing, the Union argued that our member was entitled to be reimbursed the early repayment penalty fee in line with Clause 29.12.3 of the Award:

“A transferred employee entitled to the reimbursement of conveyancing and other costs is entitled to reimbursement of the cost of survey certificates, pest certificates and/or Building Society registration fees reasonably incurred in seeking financial accommodation to purchase the new residence or the land upon which to erect a new residence and the fees associated with discharging the mortgage on the former residence.”

The Union submitted that payment of the early repayment penalty was a prerequisite to our member discharging his mortgage, and that Cl 29.12.3 was clear in that it requires “fees associated with discharging a mortgage” to be reimbursed by the Department. Justice Boland found in our favour and ordered the Department to reimburse our member the full $4000+ fee.

Any members in a similar situation should claim for reimbursement of such fees from the Department. If your claim is refused then you should, as always, contact the Union office.

In brief…

  •  The State Committee has approved amendments to our Awards to allow members to salary sacrifice for numerous items beyond superannuation (eg motor vehicles). Full details will be circulated once we have the Department’s consent and the necessary Award variations have been ratified by the IRC. We expect both steps to have been completed prior to 1/7/03.
  • The repeated rumours over recent months of 24 hour rosters replacing the 10/14 (including one where an entire Platoon was supposed to be retrenched in return for a 25% pay rise) have no basis in fact – well not from the Union side of things anyway. We were, however, interested to note the Commissioner’s mention last week that the Department was busy preparing its  “management agenda” for the forthcoming award negotiations. One of the first tasks for the incoming State Committee will be to develop the Union’s own “agenda” (we’d call it a claim) for those negotiations, which we expect to be kicking off in earnest by mid-year.
  • Ever wondered why the Union’s t-shirts look so like the NSWFB version? Truth  is that it’s not because we copied theirs, but because they copied ours. And the trend is set to continue. Having moved well over 1000 FBEU beanies over the last couple of years, we are pleased (and somewhat amused) to confirm that the Department will now shortly be issuing NSWFB beanies to all firefighters. Perhaps if we started selling FBEU peak caps the Department would follow suit by re-issuing them instead of the atrocious fake akubras?
  • Until the Union advises otherwise, the “hot pack” self-heating things are not substantial meals and giving you one does not remove your entitlement to the Award’s meal allowance.

Chris Read

State Secretary



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