Recall to maintain required staffing levels (clause 9.6.1)
March 22, 2007
Earlier this week the Union received a petition in accordance with Rule 11 calling for a Special General Meeting of members to consider the following.
That: the N.S.W. Fire Brigade Employees Union hereby be instructed by its members to rescind the State Committee resolution posted on the 1st of June concerning permanent members covering retained shortages and re-instate as an interim policy the principles contained in the NSWFBEU letter of 30th April 1996 entitled “Retained Staffing In-Orders 1995/20 Explained” In particular, part 3(D), until such time as a new policy can be debated and voted on by all members.
This motion calls for the removal of a policy designed to share the allocation of overtime when permanent members fill retained vacancies between Station Officers, Senior Firefighters and Leading Firefighters. In its place the motion calls for an interim position spelt out in a Union notice titled “Retained Staffing In-Orders 1995/20 Explained”. Whilst many members signed this petition seeking to reinforce the rank structure used in the permanent brigades, the motion printed above will have some very serious consequences for members. In part because this notice predates Clause 6.8 of the retained Award, it would result in retained firefighters working stations other than their own would have their wages cut from $54.18 to $24.37 per hour when called in to make up minimum crewing.
Further it would require a Station Officers having to be recalled in every instance that a retained brigade had less than 4 retained members available anywhere in the state and that permanent members working as instructors in the country could now be used to crew appliances rather than provide training. The Union’s State Committee of Management will now meet to consider, debate and frame a recommendation to members on the above motion on Friday 6th July. In the interim however the Union has written to the Department and sought an urgent meeting (a copy of that letter is attached to this notice).
In other news, the Union this week won a significant court case confirming the entitlement of permanent members who are recalled to duty for the purpose of maintaining minimum staffing to a minimum payment equal to four hours at overtime rates (ie, seven hours at single time). Not surprisingly, however, the Department today lodged an appeal against the decision which, if upheld, will impact upon all members’ minimum overtime entitlements. More to follow.