The Unions Death and Disability Award settled after five long years of negotiations, stop work meetings, relieving bans and the Union’s largest ever political and industrial campaign is once again back on the agenda. The State Government is now looking to crack open the deal settled just three years ago and have FBEU members pick up most of the risk should the Death and Disability scheme blow out.
Our Death and Disability scheme was the first of its kind in Australia delivering similar benefits to members as the old ‘defined benefit’ State Superannuation Scheme (SSS) held by permanent members employed prior to 1985. The scheme after just three years of operation has delivered literally tens of millions of dollars to crippled and injured firefighters across the State.
Without these payments many FBEU members would be left rotting on miserly disability support pensions or subject to the degradation and humiliation of the Federal Government’s privatised ‘job network agencies’ chasing low paid demeaning work. Whilst the Union has been in and out of court since March seeking improvements to the benefits for members in line with our past wage increases, those negotiations now appear to be reaching a stalemate.
As late as last week, the Unions Executive met and considered the state of play in the Labour Courts and resolved to have the State Secretary call in the Union’s barrister, its actuary and two of its most senior Industrial Officers for a full briefing on negotiations. As a result of that briefing it has now been decided to convene a special meeting of the Union’s 14 member State Committee of Management next week.
It isn’t very often that members are unfortunate enough to need to call upon the benefits of our Union’s Death and Disability scheme. Indeed none of us look forward to the misery that any of our comrades are forced to endure in order to access the benefits that we won through our collective strength. Equally we all need to now get up to speed on what is at stake for all members of the Union’s Death and Disability scheme.
Nothing this Union ever achieved was just given to us by the grace and goodwill of our employer. Each and every benefit we won through clever and well thought through campaigns and most importantly, through our unity. I strongly urge all members of our Union to come to the ACTU rally on November 30 in full turn out gear. Bring your crew and join us for a BBQ breakfast in Belmore Park opposite Central from 7am