Despite direct and repeated requests from the Union not to do so, the Department today published a new policy in In Orders 2008/07 titled “Provision of suitable duties for injured retained firefighters”. Whilst this policy might on first blush seem a reasonable and responsible management initiative, the truth is that it has serious implications for retained members’ benefits under our Death and Disability Award.
Owing to the Department’s belligerence, refusal to properly consult and threat to members’ D&D benefits, members are hereby instructed that effective on and from 1800 hours today, Friday 28 March 2008, no member is to perform any relieving or out-duties until further notice from the State Secretary. The clarification regarding the operation of relieving bans that was first issued on 14 February is reproduced here below for the benefit of members:
1) Relievers (or out-duties) are to return to their base stations immediately upon receipt of a Union notice directing the commencement of relieving bans. Provided that if members of the off going shift have already been dismissed and left the station then a reliever may remain until relieved by a member on recall. In any event, all relievers are to leave for their base stations by no later than 1000 hrs or 2200 hrs.
2) Where any appliance falls below its safe minimum staffing level as a result of these bans, a member (or members, if necessary) from the off-going shift should be held back to cover that shortage until a member (or members) arrives on recall.
3) In the event that the Department fails or refuses to hold members from the off-going shift on overtime and/or to recall off-duty members in order to maintain safe minimum staffing levels, then the appliance in question is to be taken offline until such time as minimum staffing levels are restored. A Union official is to be notified immediately.
4) Members are not to change platoons to fill known or unknown absences, and members who act as ‘Z & J relievers’ are to remain at their base station on the platoon they are currently working until the bans are lifted or notified otherwise by way of a further Union notice.
Country relieving, Operational Support and secondments
5) GSA-based members who are already performing or who are already in transit to perform country relief at the time of the notification of relieving bans are to remain or proceed to that station until the bans are lifted or they are notified otherwise by way of a further Union notice.
6) GSA-based members who are not yet in transit to perform country relief at the time of the notification of relieving bans are to remain at their station until the bans are lifted or they are notified otherwise by way of a further Union notice.
7) Operational Support members, including members seconded to those positions on a temporary basis, are to remain in place unless they are notified otherwise by way of a further Union notice.