The Department triggered yet another industrial dispute this week by flagging its intention to amend the arrangements for the payment of OTEN enrolment fees. The Department is proposing that it will in future pay for OTEN enrolment fees once only and that members will be required to pay for any and all subsequent enrolments.
This proposal shifts the financial burden of paying the upfront enrollment fees onto members, potentially hindering progression and promotion. It is also contrary to the long-standing principle that the Department should provide the training required for progression and promotion.
Prior to the introduction of competency based training (CBT), exams were held for progression to Senior Firefighter and Station Officer at no cost to members (but considerable cost to the Department). The move to CBT therefore came with significant savings to the Department, which then went further by not only outsourcing the delivery of competencies, but also passing this cost onto members.
The Union does not agree that members should pay for these fees and has continuously sought to restore the situation where all training required for progression and promotion is provided by the employer. In 2000 the Union secured payment for enrolment fees for 12 months on successful completion of competencies and in 2006 negotiated the extension of the paid enrollment period to 24 months. Significantly, the Union also secured agreement from the Department that the employer, not the member, would in future pay the course fees on enrolment.
Ultimately, training required for progression and promotion should delivered internally, thereby eliminating the issue of OTEN fees entirely. The Union today notified the Industrial Relations Commission of a dispute and the matter has been listed for hearing on Monday. More to follow.
May Day this Sunday, 1 May
All members and their families are invited to come together this Sunday, 1st May for the May Day March.
May Day is an annual opportunity to come together as unionists and celebrate the proud history of our Union and the entire working class movement.
The FBEU contingent will be convening in Hyde Park near the Archibald Fountain between 11:00am to 11:30am. The march will depart at 12:00pm from Hyde Park. As always we will be lead by our pipe band and there will be a meal, a few drinks and a commemorative T-shirt for those who attend.