General update March 2006
March 31, 2006
Inside this notice:
- Superannuation update #1 – SASS members land salary sacrifice windfall
- Superannuation update #2 – Salary sacrifice limits lifted
- Superannuation update #3 – 2006 D&D award lodged today
- Superannuation update #4 – UnionsNSW to campaign for 15% employer contributions
- Memo Madness – Refreshment Allowances
- Update on the settlement of the PSTP (Stage 1) dispute
- FBEU Membership cards
- Have you changed your address?
- Draft 28A transfer registers now available
Superannuation update #1 – SASS members land salary sacrifice windfall
After years of lobbying by public sector unions including the FBEU, comes the news that the NSW Government has approved legislative amendments which will benefit members of SASS by allowing them to salary sacrifice their compulsory superannuation contributions. These amendments are expected to take effect from April 1 2007, however further information will be circulated as and when it becomes available.
The ability for SSS members to salary sacrifice their contributions hasn’t been finalised due to significant complexities arising from the rules of that scheme. But we’ll continue to work on it, and keep you updated as to progress.
Superannuation update #2 – Salary sacrifice limits lifted
Also fresh to hand is the news that the current 30% limit on salary sacrificing will be lifted altogether, effective on and from 1 April 2006, thereby allowing NSW Government employees to sacrifice up to 100% of their salaries. Given the obvious problems associated with the resultant loss of income, we seriously doubt whether this initiative will be of any practical benefit to members, but (useless or not) it is now an option.
Superannuation update #3 – 2006 D&D award lodged today
The Union has filed an application to renew the Death and Disability Award, including improvements such as indexation of Death and Total and Permanent Incapacity lump sum payments, and any asbestos related disease being deemed to have been contracted on duty. We expect the Department’s consent to our application within the coming week.
Superannuation update #4 – Unions NSW to campaign for 15% employer contributions
A meeting of State Public Sector Unions affiliated with Unions NSW has endorsed the FBEU’s proposal to pursue a campaign to gain 15% employer superannuation contributions for all members employed by the NSW Government and related agencies.
In the first instance, unions sought that Unions NSW schedule a meeting with the NSW Treasurer to put and discuss the claim. Unions will then reconvene to consider the Government’s response, and the best way to progress the campaign.
Memo Madness – Refreshment Allowances
More rogue management memos have surfaced, this time with regard to the provision and payment of refreshment allowances. And again, it is with scant regard for the Award. This latest memo instructs members that claims for refreshment allowances are to be counter-signed by the Operational Commander before they are paid. This is contrary to Clause 10.4 of the Award which clearly states that the payments referred to in clause 10 shall, unless the officer-in-charge is not available to make such payment, be made prior to or at the cessation of the shift or overtime as the case may be. Members should continue providing refreshments at the fire ground where incidents extend for more than 2 hours, and where this does not occur, pay the refreshment allowance accordingly.
Update on the settlement of the PSTP (Stage 1) dispute
Continued negotiations over our PSTP (Stage 1) agreement with the Department has seen further transitional arrangements agreed to. As a result, all members holding the rank of Firefighter Level 3 on March 3 2006 have now been reclassified as of that date at the new rank of Firefighter Level 2, with progression to Qualified Firefighter now subject to 3 years’ service and the successful completion of the competencies required for progression to QF.
However, because not all PSTP modules required for Qualified Firefighter rank are currently available, members from Recruit Classes 2/03 and 3/03 (only) will now be automatically promoted to the new Firefighter Level 3 rank as of 7 March 2006 and 11 April 2006 respectively. Further, members of Recruit Class 04/03 (only) will now be promoted to the new FL3 rank immediately upon completion of 3 years’ service (which may occur as early as 27 June 2006) and successful completion of at least 50% of the competencies required for QF.
If, as expected, the PSTP modules required for progression to Qualified Firefighter rank are made available by 28 April 2006, then the concessions made to classes 2/03, 3/03 and 4/03 will not be extended to any other 2003 recruit class members. It follows that members from Recruit Class 05/03 onwards will not progress to Firefighter Level 3 at any stage, but will instead progress to Qualified Firefighter rank upon completion of 3 years’ service and the training competencies now required for progression to QF. If, however, PSTP modules required for progression to Qualified Firefighter rank are not available by 28 April then the Union will demand that Class 04/03’s concession will be extended to Class 5/03, and so on if need be, until such time as the necessary modules actually do become available.
FBEU membership cards
Union membership cards were this week posted out to all members. If you haven’t received yours yet, it’s because we don’t have your current address (see item below).
Have you changed your address?
The Union has received a significant amount of return mail from posting out membership cards. If you haven’t already done so, please ensure that you have notified the Union of your current address. All correspondence, ballot papers, cards etc are sent to the address held by the Union. Please notify us of your change of address by email, fax or telephone.
Draft 28A transfer registers now available
The new transfer register system that was adopted by members at the June 2004 SGM and which is now reflected in the permanent Award’s Clause 28A comes into effect on 1 May this year. The introduction of the new Clause also requires the introduction of new Residential and General transfer registers for each area, and following representations from the Union, draft versions of each new transfer register have today been posted on the Brigades’ intranet. The Union urges all members holding a position on one or more of the current transfer registers to check these new draft registers to see that you have been re-listed in accordance with the Award’s Transitional Provisions at clause 28A.8:
28A.8.1 Employees who, as at 1 May 2006 were holding a position on one or more of the Transfer Registers then in operation under Clause 28 shall be placed on the corresponding new Transfer Register(s) under this Clause, Residential or General, as follows:
28A.8.1.1 Employees who had held residential priority status for two or more successive years will be placed upon the relevant Residential Transfer Register(s) by order of the date of their original application.
28A.8.1.2 All remaining employees will be placed upon the relevant General Transfer Register(s) by order of the date of their original application, provided that those employees who held residential priority status for less than two years shall have the date at which their residential priority was first recognised recorded amongst their Register details pursuant to subclause 28A.3.2.1.