SITREP No. 3/2011

January 20, 2011

Inside this issue:

  • Flood disaster update
  • SOs checking SCBAs – Union instruction stands
  • US and UK comrades facing redundancies, wage freezes

Flood disaster update

With many parts of Australia now suffering severe floods and devastation, the Union records our sadness and offers our condolences over the loss of life, and the destruction of homes and workplaces by these unprecedented natural disasters.

Our members have joined thousands of other emergency service workers and volunteers in the rescue, recovery and clean up effort. I have been in contact with the QLD union during the course of this week, to offer our support, both fraternally and financially if required. I have also personally been in contact with members on the ground at the disaster to offer our support and check on their welfare.

I received some feedback from members in regards to last week’s Sitrep 2/2011 item on entitlements, questioning both its timing and content. Not surprisingly, the response of our members to the disaster areas so quickly prompted industrial questions and requests for clarification of entitlements prior to deployment. This was the reason for those details being issued and as the industrial body charged with providing such information to NSW firefighters, I stand by that information, and it’s content.

We wish all involved a safe and speedy recovery, and remind all members that donations should be made to the Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal ( or by phoning 1800 219 028. Visit our website’s “Members Forum” for more information.

SOs checking SCBAs – Union instruction stands

Sitrep 43/2010 reported that the Department’s Safety Bulletin (19/10/2010) directed that ‘Permanent Station Officers at stations with retained staff must carry out pre-operational checks on all retained firefighters’ SCBA sets at the start of shift.’ While the Union instructed members to ignore this aspect of that SOG and Safety Bulletin, the Department has now published the same advice in Commissioner’s Orders 2011/1. The Union’s instruction in Sitrep 43/2010 stands.

US and UK comrades facing redundancies, wage freezes

Sobering news from abroad where the city of Camden in New Jersey is preparing to lay off one-third of its firefighters. See:

Meanwhile in the UK, the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government has confirmed that its pay offer to firefighters is exactly zero percent. Fire service authorities are proposing deep cuts to meet the government’s across-the-board budget cut of 25%. The Essex local authority has sought to sack over 100 firefighters, or 12% of its entire wholetime (permanent) firefighter workforce.

Even public safety is not immune from right wing ideologues and Treasury shiny bums – something to bear in mind given the rapidly approaching O’Farrell government in our state.

Darin Sullivan

Acting State Secretary