When In Orders 2006/5 appeared on 3 March 2006 without mentioning the promotion of the FL4’s to Qualified Firefighter, as per our PSTP (Stage 1) agreement, alarm bells rang for the Union’s officials. A call to management confirmed that the Department was not intending to promote those members until they completed their QF modules.
Given the FL4 rank no longer existed, the Union then asked what rank the Department thought those members would hold – and just as importantly (if not more so), what they’d be paid? Management’s initial answer was to downgrade all FL4’s to the new FL2 rank and to deliver them a $60 per week pay cut, although even they quickly realised how unfair that approach would be. They’ve since decided to maintain the members at the former FL4 rate, plus 4%, although it’s anyone’s guess what rank those members are now considered to hold.
Regardless, this unnecessary dispute over our FL4 members begins and ends with the deal that was struck back in June last year. That deal was captured in the Commissioner’s own
In Orders 2005/17, the relevant extract of which clearly says:
Effective on and from 3 March 2006, employees will therefore be reclassified as follows:
Current rankNew rank
Recruit Firefighter Recruit Firefighter
Firefighter Level 1 Firefighter Level 1
Firefighter Level 2 Firefighter Level 1
Firefighter Level 3 Firefighter Level 2
Firefighter Level 4 Qualified Firefighter
What part of the word “will” do they not understand? The Union kept this unnecessary dispute under wraps in the hope that some sanity would eventually prevail. Regrettably, however, the cash-strapped Department refused to budge and our repeated negotiations over the last fortnight came to nothing.
In view of the Department’s failure to adhere in full to the PSTP agreement struck in June last year, all members are hereby instructed that effective on and from 1800 hours today, Wednesday 15 March 2006, no member is to perform any relieving, stand-bys or out-duties. Members are to return to and remain at their base station, save for GSA based members who are currently relieving out of the GSA, who may remain at their present location. Members are not to change platoons to fill known or unknown absences, and members who act as ‘Z men’ are to remain at their base station on the platoon they are currently working throughout.
Should a station be reduced to less than its minimum staffing level as a result of these bans, then the station is to remain offline until such time as minimum staffing levels are restored. These bans will remain in place until lifted by way of further notice from the State Secretary.