In SITREP 11/2010 the Union banned the use of a ‘Site Induction Form’ that required Station Commanders to complete a lengthy and detailed site risk assessment whenever a contractor was working at the station. Since then the Union has negotiated a new form which only requires the Station Commander to give the contractor a tour of the station (pointing out amenities, exits etc) so that the contractor may complete the form themselves. Once a contractor has completed the form it is valid for 12 months and the Station Commander is only required to sight it on future visits.
Worker compensation top up
This week a couple of members contacted the Union after having received correspondence from Allianz advising them that their weekly benefits would be reduced to the statutory rate (currently $403.70 pw). Whilst this is technically correct our workers compensation top up provisions mean that members continue to be paid at their normal rate of pay with the Department making up the difference between the statutory rate and the award rate. However, the NSW Government has removed this entitlement from some other public sector workers. The Union defended the provision in the last Award round and expects another attempt to reduce injured workers’ entitlements this time round.
Installation of smoke alarms
The Union office has received a few calls recently from members complaining that pressure has been placed on them to take part in the program for the installation of domestic smoke alarms. A reminder that participation in this program is purely voluntary: see the Department’s own In Orders 2010/5.
To avoid doubt, the decision to participate in smoke alarm activities rests entirely with the individual member. If some members of the crew want to take part then they can. If others do not want to take part then they should not. Either way, every member should remain ready and available to respond.
The majority of FBEU members have now resigned from the UFUA. Over the next week the State Committee will be contacting those who are yet to complete the form. As of the end of the month we will be able to put the failed organisation that is the UFUA behind us.
Late in the game the UFUA National Office has entered the debate by directly faxing a notice to some NSWFB stations urging members not to resign. This notice is heavy on sentiment and light on content. Most significantly, it fails to explain why the National Secretary moved to strip the NSW Branch of its voting rights, why he then pushed to increase the NSW Branch’s dues from $100,000 to over $250,000, and why he then refused to accept a compromise position put forward by NSW over the last month to attempt to stabilise the situation.
The UFUA’s profound disregard for the firefighters of NSW has led to this situation. The firefighters of NSW have now resolved it by voting with our feet.