October 20, 2011

Dept walks away from LSV agreement

When the Union settled the Waratah Fire Station dispute last year (see SITREP 8/2010 “Waratah dispute settled with new stations and extra jobs”), we did so with the clear intention of providing additional positions for alternate duties members. As SITREP 2010/8 reported, The 6 LSV’s will in future be staffed by permanent members on suitable duties, thereby allowing injured members to stay on the 10/14 rather than working day shift in the Zone Office”.

Members would also be aware of the Department’s subsequent failure to uphold its side of that bargain, prompting further SITREP items throughout the latter half of 2010 and into this year concerning the repeated grounding of LSVs and the non-delivery of essential equipment to both stations and incidents. Negotiations with management continued throughout this time leading the Union to propose a trial of different LSV staffing (SITREP 27/ 2011 “LSV update”), but that proposal died when the Department refused to accept the Union’s terms (SITREP 38/2011 “LSVs: all bets are off”).

The Union wrote to the Department on Thursday 29 September requesting written confirmation by 5pm the following day that the Department would respect and observe the 2010 LSV staffing agreement. The Department did not respond the following day, but did reply on Tuesday 4 October to advise that management would be proceeding with its own trial, on its own terms, thereby walking away from the agreed position on LSV staffing. So the Union wrote again to Commissioner Mullins last Thursday, 12 October, seeking an urgent meeting over the matter and asking that the Department take no steps to implement its alternative LSV staffing plans before that meeting took place.

Despite the obvious gravity of the matter, the Commissioner has still not responded to the Union’s latest letter, nor has he or anyone else in management attempted to contact the Union to arrange the meeting that we sought. He instead authorised the publication of a job ad for permanent members to apply to staff the LSV, on day shift only, on a 6 month “secondment” to fleet.

The Department’s intentions in this matter are clear – ignore the Union, ignore our agreement, ignore common decency and full steam ahead with their job cuts and mass sackings of members on alternative duties. Which of course they’ll find much harder to do if there are LSV vacancies for those members to fill. But this dispute is not only about those positions, it is also about how the Union and management do business, and whether or not our many agreements are worth the paper they’re written on.

Accordingly, all members are hereby instructed that effective on and from 0800 hours today, Thursday 20 October 2011:

  • no member is to perform any relieving, stand-bys or out-duties. Members are to return to and remain at their base station, save for GSA-based members who are currently relieving out of the GSA, who should remain at their present location; and
  • no member is to perform any paperwork or administrative duties (including fire reports, BRIMS, PIP’s, CARS, FANS, etc.) other than for firefighter pay or leave related matters; and
  • no member, other than a dedicated LSV Coordinator, is to direct, instruct or oversee the operation of the LSVs based at No 1 Station City of Sydney, No 21 Station Kogarah and/or No 27 Station Parramatta.

 These bans are to remain in place until further notice from the State Secretary.

Jim Casey
State Secretary


For clarification regarding the operation of relieving bans, members are advised that:

1) Relievers (or out-duties) are to return to their base stations immediately unless members of the off going shift have already been dismissed and left the station, in which case a reliever may remain until relieved by a member on recall. In any event, all relievers are to leave for base stations by 1000 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.

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.



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