SITREP No. 51/2010
December 24, 2010
Inside this issue:
- LSVs – retained members must be paid Stand By rate
- Consolidated Leave unlimited
- Additional Public Holiday bonanza – reminder
- Union Office Xmas/New Year Shutdown
LSVs – retained members must be paid Stand By rate
When the Department and Union negotiated the revised LSV staffing arrangements earlier this year, it was understood that retained staff would staff the LSV only in an emergency, and would be responding by pager in order to do so. This of course explains why only staff attached to adjacent retained stations were identified for this role – and why the LSV attached to City Of Sydney Fire Station was excluded from this arrangement.
That agreement has not been adhered to, and retained members have continued to staff the LSVs for routine functions. This is not fair on our members, permanent or retained. It is also not consistent with the Retained Award.
The root cause of the ongoing problems with the LSVs is the Department’s failure to hold up its end of the deal by providing sufficient permanent members on alternate duties to staff all six LSVs, which the Union was assured would be possible. The back-stop of retained staffing for urgent situations was an acknowledgement by both parties that it may take several months to bed down the new arrangements, but was never intended as a long term alternative. Three months down the track it is now clear that the Department has no hope of rectifying the problem any time soon.
When the Union met with the Department earlier this month once again in an attempt to sort the LSV problems, the Department undertook to come back to us with a revised position by Friday 10 December. Two weeks later we are still waiting.
Clause 6.7 of the Retained Award provides for payment at the retained Stand By rate (currently $61.30 per hour) for any retained firefighter who stands by “to fill a vacancy created through the non-availability of firefighting staff, permanent or retained”. No one could seriously argue that retained members would not be staffing the LSVs if permanent members on alternate duties were available to do so. It follows that any retained member who staffs an LSV is doing so “to fill a vacancy created through the non-availability of permanent firefighting staff” and is therefore entitled to payment at the rate of $61.30 per hour for all time worked on the LSV. In the absence of any agreement to the contrary with the Department, the Union will be seeking backpayment for all retained members who have worked on an LSV for any reason (ie, urgent or otherwise) since 1 October 2010 at the Stand By rate.
Further, all members are instructed that effective immediately, no retained member is to agree to staff an LSV for any reason (ie, urgent or otherwise) unless management provides prior confirmation that payment will be at the Stand By rate. This instruction shall remain in force until amended or withdrawn by way of a further Union notice.
Members (and the Department) should note that this is not a Union ban. It is an instruction to ensure that existing Award provisions are respected and observed.
Consolidated Leave unlimited
The Department has recently written to numerous permanent members to warn that they had exceeded the 160 hour limit for the accumulation of Consolidated Leave within Standing Orders, and asking those members to each provide a 12 month leave plan to reduce their Consolidated Leave below that threshold.
Consolidated Leave is an Award entitlement, and there is no provision within the Award that operates to limit the amount that can be accrued, or that allows management to direct members to take that leave. Members are therefore advised to ignore these letters from the Department and, if challenged for doing so, to ask management to contact your representative in this matter, contact the Union office.
Additional Public Holiday bonanza – reminder
In SITREP 9/2010, the Union advised members that additional public holidays were gazetted for Tuesday 28 December 2010 and Monday 3 January 2011, so subclause 6.4 of the permanent award provides that members who actually work on either of these days are entitled to consolidated leave for all hours actually worked. Members are reminded to check their leave records to ensure that any leave due is properly credited.
For 28 December 2010, this means 14 hours’ leave for D Platoon (0001 to 0800 hours, and 1800 to 2400 hours), 10 hours’ leave for C Platoon (0800 to 1800 hours), 12 hours’ leave for F Platoon (0600 to 1800 hours) and 8.5 hours’ leave for members on the Special Roster (0800 to 1630 hours). Beyond this, all members (including Ops Support members) will be credited for any hours actually worked.
For 3 January 2011, this means 14 hours’ leave for A Platoon (0001 to 0800 hours, and 1800 to 2400 hours), 10 hours’ leave for D Platoon (0800 to 1800 hours), 12 hours’ leave for E Platoon (0600 to 1800 hours) and 8.5 hours’ leave for members on the Special Roster (0800 to 1630 hours). Again any members, including Ops Support members, will be credited for any hours actually worked.
Please note that although Monday 27 December 2010 has been gazetted as the Boxing Day public holiday it is not an additional public holiday. In this case, the public holiday has simply been moved from Sunday 26 December to the Monday, and does not attract extra consolidated leave.
Union Office Xmas/New Year Shutdown
The Union Office will close for its annual Christmas/New Year break at 1200 hours today, Friday 24 December and resume operations on Tuesday 4 January. Members requiring assistance over this time may contact an on-shift SCOM official (see http://fbeu.net/contact-us/scom-details/) or email us at email@example.com
I again take this opportunity on behalf of the Union’s officials, industrial and administrative staff, to wish all members and your families the compliments of the Season.